On Sunday, actress Julianne Moore won a Golden Globe for her portrayal of a patient with early-onset Alzheimer's in the film Still Alice. In the movie, Moore's character is just 50 years old when she is diagnosed, and the narrative of the film follows both her and her family's struggle to cope with her mental decline.
Up to 5% of Alzheimer's sufferers are under the age of 65—typically in their 40's or 50's. These younger patients diagnosed with the disease are considered to have an "early onset" of Alzheimer's, which is where this form of dementia gets its name.
Consulted by Moore during her research for the film, Mary Sano, PhD, professor of psychiatry and director of Alzheimer’s disease research at Mount Sinai School of Medicine, says that the symptoms of early-onset Alzheimer’s are no different than symptoms of more typical cases; however because the disease is so rare in adults under the age of 65, the signs may not be as quickly recognizable.