How many types of dementia are there?

5 thoughts on “How many types of dementia are there?”

  1. I have PCA, diagnosed by symptoms and raised Tau, through a lumbar puncture, which I was told was an expensive procedure. How much quicker could the raised Tau be picked up? Does it start in childhood? Genuine question as lumbar puncture was not pleasant and would you need it every so often before symptoms appeared?

    1. Dear Martin,
      Thank you for your comment and interesting questions.

      I did not mention the corticospinal fluid testing of the proteins in the blog. The reason is that access, costs and risk for lumbar punctures can be high. It is a costly procedure, which is very unpleasant to people and access also differs across countries. For example, lumbar puncture for dementia in the UK and US is quite rare, however, nearly everyone in France getting a diagnosis of dementia will get a lumbar puncture.
      Regardless of that, yes Tau or other proteins can be picked up much earlier in the corticospinal fluid than when people develop symptoms. However, it seems unrealistic to do lumbar punctures on everyone just ‘at-risk’ of dementia because of the above access, cost and risks.

      Still, there are now blood tests on the scientific development horizon for which the scientific data looks great. This means that in the future we will likely have screening via blood tests, for example via the family doctor, to detect people with ‘incipient’ dementia BEFORE they develop symptoms. This might allow then to change the disease course much earlier, even via existing treatments.

      In terms of childhood: At the moment, the accumulation of proteins is thought to start in middle age for most dementias. Of course, for younger onset dementias, such as your PCA, this might be different and it is still not clear why they develop earlier.

      Sorry for the long answer, I hope this answers your question but if not happy to explain further or make a blog post out of it.

      Michael

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