Case Of Young Dementia in UK, 22-year Old Boy Diagnosed with Early-Onset Dementia, Thought to Have Autism

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In a rare and tragic turn of events, a 22-year-old man from Norwich, Norfolk, England, has been diagnosed with young dementia, making him the youngest person in the United Kingdom to receive such a diagnosis. Sam Fairborn, 47, mother of Andre Yarham, has been left reeling by the news, describing her son’s condition as akin to that of a 70-year-old man.

Yarham’s symptoms first manifested in November 2022, with noticeable changes in his movement, speech, and demeanor. An MRI scan conducted in October revealed atrophy in his frontal lobe, a region of the brain associated with cognitive functions, memory, and decision-making. Typically, atrophy in this area is seen in older individuals and is often linked to dementia.

Young Dementia Diagnosis

While the diagnosis of dementia was a devastating blow, it was compounded by the revelation that Yarham was also diagnosed with autism, a condition his mother had long suspected due to his behavior. However, his high score on an autism test had left them awaiting a formal diagnosis for years, as waiting lists for assessments were notoriously long.

Fairborn recalled her son’s gradual decline, noting how he became less communicative and exhibited signs of cognitive impairment. Once an active individual with interests in wrestling, rugby, and football, Yarham’s condition led to a stark transformation, rendering him a mere shadow of his former self.

The challenges of caring for Yarham are immense, requiring round-the-clock attention. Fairborn sacrificed her career as a driver to provide full-time care for her son, assisting him with daily tasks such as bathing and meal preparation. Simple errands, like going to the store, have become monumental tasks for Yarham, who struggles with memory lapses and cognitive deficits.

Despite the grim prognosis from doctors regarding Yarham’s chances of improvement, his family remains hopeful. They have turned to genetic testing in the hopes of uncovering the underlying cause of his dementia, with the aspiration of enrolling him in clinical trials that could potentially offer some relief or contribute to future research efforts.

In a bid to create lasting memories and fulfill Yarham’s wishes, his family initiated a GoFundMe campaign to finance a bucket list of experiences, including visits to the Harry Potter Studio Tour and Shrek’s Adventure in London. The outpouring of support from well-wishers has been heartening, but the road ahead remains fraught with uncertainty.

As they grapple with the harsh realities of Yarham’s condition and uncertain future, his family remains steadfast in their determination to make the most of each day. While the prospect of a cure may elude them, they are committed to pursuing avenues of research and treatment that offer hope not only for Yarham but for others facing similar challenges in the future.

With their unwavering resolve and resilience, Yarham’s family serves as a poignant reminder of the power of love, support, and the human spirit in the face of adversity.


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