Signs of cognitive issues that appear before the age of 65 indicate early onset Alzheimers disease. Early onset is considered to be rare, and genetics appears to be a factor.

Researchers do not yet know what triggers the development of early onset. It is known that approximately 5% of those with Alzheimer’s disease develop the non-familial form of early onset. Those with non-familial early onset can develop the disease in their 30’s, 40’s, or 50’s but it is extremely rare.

Familial early onset is a different form that appears to be linked with having a parent or grandparent who also developed the disease at a young age.

Familial Early Onset has been associated with a genetic mutation in any one of the following three genes. These rare gene mutations lead to overproduction of toxic beta-amyloid protein. This protein produces an overabundance of plaque in the brain, a hallmark of the disease.

  • Amyloid Precursor Protein (APP)
  • Presenilin 1 (PSEN1)
  • Presenilin 2 (PSEN 2)

Unfortunately, those who develop either form of early onset Alzheimer’s disease tend to decline at a more rapid rate than those with late onset.