Suffering from Alzheimer’s at 17, this young patient is a mystery to Science

Suffering from Alzheimer's at 17, this young patient is a mystery to Science

It was at the age of 17 that the young man began to lose his memory. Two years later, the ax fell: he suffered from Alzheimer’s disease. A conundrum for researchers.

If 17 generally represents the age of carelessness and the first outings, for others, this period rhymes with illness. This is the case of a 17-year-old young man, whose story was reported in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease.

Memory problems affected his school life

As researchers from Capital Medical University in Beijing point out, the young man had difficulty concentrating in class, did not remember the events of the day before and often misplaced his belongings.

Incidents, at first harmless, but which began to become alarming as they increased. The young boy’s cognitive decline eventually worsened, preventing him from completing high school.

And it was during his nineteenth year that the news broke: he had Alzheimer’s disease.

A mystery case for Science

How to explain such a case in a minor? For researchers, it’s a mystery. No known genetic mutation responsible for the early onset of memory loss has been identified in young men.

Furthermore, no member of the family has previously been affected by Alzheimer’s disease. Finally, the young boy does not present any “underlying disease“particular that could explain this early degeneration.

The examinations clearly confirm the specificities of the disease.

Positron emission tomography and 18F fluorodeoxyglucose magnetic resonance imaging revealed bilateral hippocampal atrophy and hypometabolism in the bilateral temporal lobe. Examination of the patient’s cerebrospinal fluid showed an increased concentration of p-tau181 and a decreased amyloid-β ratio 42/40“, explain the researchers.

Scientists now hope to carry out new research on cases of early Alzheimer’s, in order to improve the “global scientific understanding” around this disease.

Exploring the mysteries of young people with Alzheimer’s disease could become one of the most difficult scientific questions of the future“, they told the South China Morning Post.