What Is Childhood Alzheimer’s: Its Treatment, Symptoms, & Causes

Childhood Alzheimer’s is a term people use to define the symptoms children face due to dementia. However, you must know that this is not actually a medical condition. You may think people use it to define children with Alzheimer’s disease, but that is not true.

This unique problem is not clinically diagnosed. Instead, it is just a term some individuals use to refer to various conditions that usually affect children’s memory or communication ability.

You may notice that symptoms of such diseases are quite similar to Alzheimer’s. However, the cause of why they happen is quite different. Both of these conditions are uncommon and mainly happen because of genetic inheritance.

Meaning Of Childhood Alzheimer

When discussing this condition in children, you must know that this problem doesn’t refer to one particular medical condition. Rather, it is used for the symptoms of childhood dementia. There are more than 70 conditions that can cause dementia in children.

1 out of 100 patients with dementia is either young people or children. Typical symptoms are memory loss, lack of learning or concentration, behavioral issues, and sleep problems.

Are Childhood Dementia, And Childhood Alzheimer’s The Same Conditions?

People often consider both these medical conditions the same. However, as in the case of adults, both are different conditions, and the same goes for childhood dementia and childhood Alzheimer’s as well.

The main cause of childhood dementia is a group of conditions referred to as NCL (Neuronal ceroid lipofuscinosis). A child with NCL faces the issue of a lack of lipids and protein build-up in their body. NCL is as fatal as childhood Alzheimer’s. Because of this, children of age 10 to 15 mostly don’t survive. 

Additionally, children cannot experience Alzheimer’s. People who mainly face this medical condition are above 65 years.

Can You Treat Childhood Alzheimer’s?

Treating the symptoms of this condition is possible. There are a few treatments that can help relieve its symptoms:

  • Blood-forming stem cell transplants.
  • Enzyme replacement therapy.

Scientists are still examining more ways to treat this condition. They are finding more drugs to help in controlling the causes of childhood dementia.

Is Childhood Dementia Curable?

Currently, there is not any present cure for conditions and disorders caused due to childhood dementia. However, there are some therapeutic approaches that can help treat the symptoms of dementia. You can also take an Alzheimer care consultation with Alnícór Consulting to help your child fight this disease.

What Are The Symptoms Of This Condition?

The first symptoms you will notice of this condition are normally brain-related. Children might face issues while communicating or memorizing. There are also other signs like having trouble learning new things or losing motor and other skills they knew before.

These symptoms can vary in children and whether they have NPC or MPS III. A few of the common symptoms include:

  • loss of ability to speak 
  • slurred speech
  • problem making eye contact
  • shortness of breath
  • difficulty following lights or things with eyes
  • swelling in the stomach
  • issue making eye contact
  • yellow-tinted skin
  • loss of muscle tone and control
  • balance loss
  • Issues while swallowing
  • loss of motor skills
  • rapid blinking
  • seizures

If your child has MPS III, chances are they might face symptoms like:

  • insomnia
  • large foreheads
  • coarse hair
  • digestive issues
  • behavioral concerns
  • hyperactivity

Also, when these symptoms appear can vary from person to person. Typically, these signs appear at an early age or adulthood and in both forms. However, in most cases, the first signs appear during the age of 4 to 10. 

The symptoms will worsen with time, and quick treatment is essential for symptom relief.

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What Are The Causes? 

The major cause of this medical condition is genetics. Both diseases are recessive. Hence, parents are the carrier of the gene that causes the inheritance of this condition in their child.

Children have a 1 out of 4 chance of having this condition if both parents are carriers of the Alzheimer’s causing genes.

Parents fail to pass down genes that can produce the right protein the cells need to work efficiently. In cases where the cell’s lysosomes fail to work correctly, the body also fails to produce the things needed for the healthy functioning of the body.

With time, sugars, fats, or cholesterol will start getting built in the cells of the affected child. And this is also the reason for the decline in organ and brain function.

How To Diagnose This Condition?

It may take years to diagnose a child with this medical condition. The condition of dementia or Alzheimer’s is highly rare in a child. Also, most of the time, children get diagnosed with more common conditions. 

You must attend regular health check-ups for your child so that the doctors can monitor the development process. Additionally, it also helps with finding delays as quickly as possible.

There are also instances when children get diagnosed with other conditions such as learning disabilities or autism because of the early symptoms of these conditions that usually affect motor skills.

Children with such conditions usually need genetic testing before going for a diagnosis. Visiting a specialist will be best for this condition. Furthermore, diagnosing NPC or MPS III in children is now possible with a standard blood test. Before, you needed biopsies to confirm it.

What Is The Outlook For The Child With Alzheimer’s?

Childhood Alzheimer’s is a fatal condition. In most cases, children of either type don’t survive until the age of 20. However, in a few cases, children might survive till 30. 

Children with MPS III have a longer average lifespan of 15 to 20 years. Meanwhile, children with NPC don’t survive by the age of 10.

Children who face dementia symptoms later on in life tend to develop Alzheimer’s slowly compared to those who have it since birth.

Sadly, there is not any cure for this condition. During this time, giving your child emotional support is essential. You can get in touch with an Alzheimer’s care coordinator to know the better ways to handle this medical condition.

Alnícór Consulting helps families by offering consultations for childhood dementia. Our experts will help you and your child with the emotional support you need. Caring for your child in this condition is the only thing you can do. Contact us at 183-325-6267, 18332111777 to get more information about Alzheimer’s and dementia.

Frequently Asked Questions

Usually, it takes around 6 to 24 months to develop childhood dementia. Common symptoms of this condition are:

  • loss of motor and cognitive abilities
  • seizures
  • vision loss

Currently, there are no certain ways to prevent Alzheimer’s. You only have the option to treat its symptoms.

According to three studies, vitamin D supplements failed to improve cognitive outcomes or reduce the risk of this dementia.

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