Dementia, an abnormal brain degeneration that impacts cognitive abilities and daily activities, is primarily associated with older adults. However, a highly unusual case has emerged in the US, as reported by the New York Post, where a 19-year-old girl has been diagnosed with dementia.
Initially, Gianna Cabo’s cognitive difficulties were attributed to the lingering effects of long Covid, as she had a severe bout of coronavirus in June 2020. However, when Gianna’s academic performance began to decline, her mother, Rebecca Robertson, noticed concerning signs.
Gianna experienced memory loss and struggled with basic tasks like operating a can opener. She also withdrew from her friends, neglected her homework, and started falling asleep immediately upon returning home.
Alarmed by these developments, Rebecca took her daughter to a neurologist in November 2022. After conducting various medical tests, doctors discovered no electrical activity in Gianna’s right central lobe, leading to a diagnosis of dementia.
“I felt as though someone had struck me in the heart. I was stunned. I couldn’t believe it was true. She’s only 19. I never imagined it could be dementia, not in my wildest dreams,” expressed Rebecca Robertson in an interview with SWNS, as reported by the New York Post.
Furthermore, the mother-daughter duo was involved in a car accident in 2019, which resulted in compressed discs in Gianna’s neck. According to her mother, this incident has also contributed to her daughter’s mental health challenges.
Now 20 years old, Gianna is unable to recall cherished childhood memories, leaving her mother feeling as though her daughter is gradually slipping away.
“I pray there is a treatment available that can provide some hope. Gianna no longer laughs. She hardly gets out of bed. The saddest part is that it doesn’t bother her. There’s no emotion present. None. She’s completely apathetic,” added Rebecca.
Childhood dementia, as highlighted by the Childhood Dementia Initiative, stems from progressive brain damage and is associated with more than 70 rare genetic disorders. While a cure remains elusive, available treatment options include medication, therapy, and nutritional support.