A 19-year-old man from China has received an Alzheimer’s disease diagnosis, making him the youngest person in the world to be diagnosed with the condition.
The teenager has been experiencing a gradual memory decline and inability to focus since he was 17. According to the case report published in the Journal for Alzheimer's Disease, the patient could not remember events from the past day or where he put his belongings.
The World Health Organization-University of California Los Angeles Auditory Verbal Learning Test, used in establishing Alzheimer's disease diagnosis, showed memory impairment, while medical testing confirmed a probable Alzheimer's disease.
Alzheimer's is a type of dementia that affects memory, thinking, and behavior and interferes with daily tasks. The condition is not a normal part of aging, but increasing age is the most significant known risk factor. The majority of Alzheimer's patients are 65 and older.
The condition may begin with mild memory loss, eventually making a patient unable to carry on a conversation or respond to their environment. People with Alzheimer's may not recognize their problem, but it is often apparent to others.
The number of people living with Alzheimer's disease beyond age 65 doubles every five years. In 2020, as many as 5.8 million Americans were living with the condition.
Early signs of the disease, according to the Alzheimer's Association, may include:
- Memory loss that disrupts daily life, and problems with concentration.
- Difficulties planning or solving problems.
- Troubles completing familiar tasks, such as driving to a familiar location.
- Confusion with time or place, for example, losing track of dates.
- Difficulty understanding visual images and spatial relationships.
- Problems with words in speaking or writing.
- Putting things in unusual places, being unable to retrace steps to find them.
- Decreased or poor judgment, for example, when dealing with money.
- Withdrawal from work or social activities.
- Changes in mood and personality, such as becoming confused, suspicious, or depressed.
There is no cure for Alzheimer's but medications like aducanumab (Aduhelm) and lecanemab (Leqembi) can help to reduce the cognitive and functional decline in people at the early stages of the disease.
- IOS Press. A 19-Year-Old Adolescent with Probable Alzheimer’s Disease.
- Alzheimer’s Association. What is Alzheimer’s Disease?
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias.
- Alzheimer’s Association. 10 Early Signs and Symptoms of Alzheimer's.