Presenile Dementia or Early Onset Dementia (EOD) is a public health problem, it differs from Senile Dementia, and encloses a significant number of cases; nevertheless, it is still poorly understood and underdiagnosed. This study aims to review the prevalence and etiology of EOD, comparing EOD with Senile Dementia, as well as to show the main causes of EOD and their prevalence in population and non-population based studies. The computer-supported search used the following databases: Pubmed/Medline, ISI Web of Knowledge and Scielo. The search terms were alcohol-associated dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, Creutzfeldt-jakob disease, dementia with lewy bodies, early onset dementia, frontotemporal lobar degeneration, Huntington’s disease, mixed dementia, neurodegenerative disorders, Parkinson’s disease dementia, presenile dementia, traumatic brain injury, vascular dementia. Only papers published in English and conducted from 1985 up to 2012 were preferentially reviewed. Neurodegenerative diseases are the most common etiologies seen in EOD. Among the general population, the prevalence of EOD was found to range between 0 to 700 per 100.000 habitants in groups of 25-64 years old, with an increasing incidence with age. The progression of EOD was found to range between 8.3 to 22.8 new cases per 100.000 in those aged under 65 years. Alzheimer's disease (AD) is the major etiology, followed by Vascular Dementia (VaD) and Frontotemporal Lobar Degeneration (FTLD). A larger number of epidemiological studies to elucidate how environmental issues contribute to EOD are necessary, thus, we can collaborate in the planning and prevention of services toward dementia patients.

Keywords: Alzheimer’s disease, AD, Early Onset Dementia, EOD, Epidemiology, Frontotemporal Lobar Degeneration, FTLD, Neurodegenerative Disorders, Presenile Dementia, Vascular Dementia, VaD.
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