A new study from Bournemouth University has spotted an increase in the number of people diagnosed with dementia in their 40s.

Cases of young or early-onset dementia are on the rise, according to new research carried out by Bournemouth University.

People in their forties are increasingly being diagnosed with dementia, compared to twenty years ago, when early-onset dementia was usually discovered when people were in their sixties.

Researchers warn that this could be the beginning of a ‘silent epidemic’ and claim that the increase is not just down to growing awareness, but could also be linked to environmental factors.

‘The rate of increase in such a short time suggests a silent or even a “hidden” epidemic, in which environmental factors must play a major part, not just ageing,’ says Colin Pritchard, a researcher from Bournemouth University.

They identified issues such as the rise in the use of petro-chemicals in air transport and motor vehicles, the growth in insecticide use and the increase in background electro-magnetic fields as being issues that could contribute to the numbers of people with early-onset dementia.

The study suggested that health campaigns similar to those raising awareness of heart disease and cancer had not yet happened in the same way for dementia, but claimed that they could definitely help increase understanding of the causes, signs and symptoms.

‘It is not that we want to stop the modern world, but rather make it safer,’ said Mr Pritchard.

For more information on early-onset dementia, click here. For tips on the signs and symptoms of dementia, click here.