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Time to diagnosis in young-onset dementia as compared with late-onset dementia

  • D. van Vliet (a1), M. E. de Vugt (a1), C. Bakker (a2) (a3), Y. A. L. Pijnenburg (a4), M. J. F. J. Vernooij-Dassen (a3) (a5) (a6) (a7), R. T. C. M. Koopmans (a3) (a5) and F. R. J. Verhey (a1)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 28 May 2012

The extent to which specific factors influence diagnostic delays in dementia is unclear. Therefore, the aim of the present study was to compare duration from symptom onset to diagnosis for young-onset dementia (YOD) and late-onset dementia (LOD) and to assess the effect of age at onset, type of dementia, gender, living situation, education and family history of dementia on this duration.


Data on 235 YOD and 167 LOD patients collected from caregivers from two prospective cohort studies were used. Multiple linear regression analysis was performed.


The duration between symptom onset and the diagnosis of YOD exceeded that of LOD by an average of 1.6 years (2.8 v. 4.4 years). Young age and being diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia were related to increases in the time to diagnosis. Subjects with vascular dementia experienced shorter time to diagnosis.


There is a need to raise special awareness of YOD to facilitate a timely diagnosis.

Corresponding author
*Address for correspondence: M. E. de Vugt, Ph.D., Maastricht University Medical Centre, School for Mental Health and Neuroscience/Alzheimer Centre Limburg, Department of Psychiatry and Psychology, PO Box 5800, 6202 AZ Maastricht, The Netherlands. (Email:
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