What Are Frontotemporal Disorders? Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment (2023)

Related Dementias

On this page:

  • What are the types and symptoms of FTD?
  • What causes FTD?
  • How is FTD diagnosed?
  • Treatment and management of FTD
  • Where to find services for FTD diagnosis and treatment

Frontotemporal disorders (FTD), sometimes called frontotemporal dementia, are the result of damage to neurons in the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain. Many possible symptoms can result, including unusual behaviors, emotional problems, trouble communicating, difficulty with work, or difficulty with walking. FTD is rare and tends to occur at a younger age than other forms of dementia. Roughly 60% of people with FTD are 45 to 64 years old.

What Are Frontotemporal Disorders? Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment (1)

FTD is progressive, meaning symptoms get worse over time. In the early stages, people may have just one symptom. As the disease progresses, other symptoms appear as more parts of the brain are affected. It is difficult to predict how long someone with FTD will live. Some people live more than 10 years after diagnosis, while others live less than two years after they are diagnosed.

There is currently no cure for FTD, and no treatments slow or stop the progression of the disease, but there are ways to help manage the symptoms.

What do the terms mean?

What Are Frontotemporal Disorders? Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment (2)

One of the challenges shared by people living with these disorders, families, clinicians, and researchers is what terminology to use. Here, we have used the term frontotemporal disorders to characterize this group of diseases and the abbreviation FTD, which is commonly used to refer to them. Other terms used include frontotemporal lobar degeneration and frontotemporal dementia, but it's important to note that with some frontotemporal disorders, the primary symptoms are problems with speech or movement, rather than dementia symptoms. Physicians and psychologists diagnose the different forms of FTD based on a person’s symptoms as well as the results of brain scans and genetic tests.

What are the types and symptoms of FTD?

In the early stages, it can be hard to know which type of FTD a person has because symptoms and the order in which they appear can vary from one person to another. Also, the same symptoms can appear across different disorders and vary from one stage of the disease to the next as different parts of the brain are affected.

Symptoms of FTD are often misunderstood. Family members and friends may think that a person is misbehaving, leading to anger and conflict. It is important to understand that people with these disorders cannot control their behaviors and other symptoms and lack any awareness of their illness.

There are three types of frontotemporal disorders (FTD): behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia (bvFTD), primary progressive aphasia (PPA), and movement disorders.

Behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia

The most common FTD, bvFTD, involves changes in personality, behavior, and judgment. People with this disorder may have problems with cognition, but their memory may stay relatively intact. Symptoms can include:

(Video) Frontotemporal Dementia, Causes, Signs and Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment.

  • Problems planning and sequencing (thinking through which steps come first, second, and so on)
  • Difficulty prioritizing tasks or activities
  • Repeating the same activity or saying the same word over and over
  • Acting impulsively or saying or doing inappropriate things without considering how others perceive the behavior
  • Becoming disinterested in family or activities they used to care about

Over time, language and/or movement problems may occur, and the person living with bvFTD will need more care and supervision.

Primary progressive aphasia

PPA involves changes in the ability to communicate — to use language to speak, read, write, and understand what others are saying. This includes difficulty using or understanding words (aphasia) and difficulty speaking properly (e.g., slurred speech). People with PPA may have one or both of these symptoms. They may become mute or unable to speak.

Many people with PPA develop symptoms of dementia. Problems with memory, reasoning, and judgment are not apparent at first but can develop over time. In addition, some people with PPA may experience significant behavioral changes, similar to those seen in bvFTD, as the disease progresses.

There are three types of PPA, categorized by the kind of language problems that appear first.

  • Semantic PPA: A person slowly loses the ability to understand single words and sometimes to recognize the faces of familiar people and common objects.
  • Agrammatic PPA: A person has more and more trouble speaking and may omit words that link nouns and verbs (such as to, from, the). Eventually, the person may no longer be able to speak at all. The person may eventually develop movement symptoms similar to those seen in corticobasal syndrome.
  • Logopenic PPA: A person has trouble finding the right words during a conversation but can understand words and sentences. The person does not have problems with grammar.

Researchers do not fully understand the biological basis of the different types of PPA. But they hope one day to link specific language problems with the changes in the brain that cause them.

Movement disorders

Two rare neurological movement disorders associated with FTD, corticobasal syndrome and progressive supranuclear palsy, occur when the parts of the brain that control movement are affected. The disorders may affect thinking and language abilities, too.

  • Corticobasal syndrome can be caused by corticobasal degeneration — a gradual atrophy (shrinkage) and loss of nerve cells in specific parts of the brain. This degeneration causes progressive loss of the ability to control movement, typically beginning around age 60. The most prominent symptom may be apraxia, the inability to use the hands or arms to perform a movement despite normal strength, such as difficulty closing buttons or operating small appliances. Other symptoms can include muscle rigidity and difficulty swallowing. Symptoms may appear first on one side of the body, but eventually both sides are affected. Occasionally, a person with corticobasal syndrome first has language problems or trouble orienting objects in space and later develops movement symptoms. Not everyone who has corticobasal syndrome has problems with memory, cognition, language, or behavior.
  • Progressive supranuclear palsy causes problems with balance and walking. People with the disorder typically move slowly, experience unexplained falls, lose facial expression, and have body stiffness, especially in the neck and upper body — symptoms similar to those of Parkinson’s disease. A hallmark sign of this disorder is trouble with eye movements, particularly looking down. These symptoms may give the face a fixed stare. Problems with behavior, memory, problem solving, and judgment can also develop.

Other movement-related types of FTD include frontotemporal dementia with parkinsonism and frontotemporal dementia with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (FTD-ALS).

  • Frontotemporal dementia with parkinsonism can be an inherited disease caused by a genetic tau mutation. Symptoms include movement problems similar to those of Parkinson’s disease, such as slowed movement, stiffness, and balance problems, and changes in behavior or language.
  • FTD-ALS, also called FTD with motor neuron disease, is a combination of bvFTD and ALS, the latter commonly known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. In addition to the behavioral and/or language changes seen in bvFTD, people with FTD-ALS experience the progressive muscle weakness seen in ALS, fine jerks, and wiggling in muscles. Symptoms of either disease may appear first, with other symptoms developing over time. Mutations in certain genes have been found in some people with FTD-ALS, though most cases are not hereditary.

What causes FTD?

Scientists are beginning to understand the biological and genetic basis for the changes observed in brain cells that lead to FTD.What Are Frontotemporal Disorders? Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment (3)

Scientists describe FTD using the patterns of change in the brain seen in an autopsy after death. These changes include loss of neurons and abnormal amounts, or forms of proteins called tau and TDP-43. These proteins occur naturally in the body and help cells function properly. When the proteins don’t work properly, for reasons not yet fully understood, neurons in specific brain regions are damaged.

In most cases, the cause of a FTD is unknown. Individuals with a family history of FTD are more likely to develop such a disorder. About 10 to 30% of bvFTD is due to specific genetic causes.

FTD that runs in a family is often related to mutations (permanent changes) in certain genes. Genes are basic units of heredity that tell cells how to make the proteins the body needs to function. Even small changes in a gene may produce an abnormal protein, which can lead to changes in the brain and, eventually, disease.

Scientists have discovered several different genes that, when mutated, can lead to FTD:

  • Tau gene (also called the MAPT gene) — A mutation in this gene causes abnormalities in a protein called tau, which then forms tangles inside neurons and ultimately leads to the destruction of brain cells. Inheriting a mutation in this gene means a person will almost surely develop a frontotemporal disorder, usually bvFTD, but the exact age of onset and symptoms cannot be predicted.
  • GRN gene — A mutation in this gene can lead to lower production of the protein progranulin, which in turn causes another protein, TDP-43, to go awry in brain cells. Many frontotemporal disorders can result, though bvFTD is the most common. The GRN gene can cause different symptoms in different family members and cause the disease to begin at different ages.
  • C9ORF72 gene — An unusual mutation in this gene appears to be the most common genetic abnormality in familial frontotemporal disorders and familial ALS. This mutation can cause a frontotemporal disorder, ALS, or both conditions.

In recent years researchers have discovered several other genetic mutations in genes that lead to rare familial types of frontotemporal disorders. These other mutations account for less than 5% of all cases of FTD.

(Video) Frontotemporal dementia | Symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, prognosis

Families affected by inherited and familial forms of FTD can help scientists advance research by participating in clinical studies and trials. For more information, talk with a health care professional or visit the Alzheimers.gov Clinical Trials Finder.

How is FTD diagnosed?

FTD can be hard to diagnose because the symptoms are similar to those of other conditions. For example, bvFTD is sometimes misdiagnosed as a mood disorder, such as depression. To make matters more confusing, a person can have both FTD and another type of dementia, such as Alzheimer's disease. Also, because these disorders are rare, physicians may be unfamiliar with the signs and symptoms.

To help diagnose frontotemporal dementia, a doctor may:

  • Perform an exam and ask about symptoms
  • Look at personal and family medical history
  • Use laboratory tests to help rule out other conditions
  • Order genetic testing
  • Conduct tests to assess memory, thinking, language skills, and physical functioning
  • Order imaging of the brain

A psychiatric evaluation can help determine if depression or another mental health condition is causing or contributing to the condition. Only genetic tests in familial cases or a brain autopsy after a person dies can confirm a diagnosis of FTD.

Researchers are studying ways to diagnose FTD earlier and more accurately and to distinguish them from other types of dementia. One area of research involves biomarkers, such as proteins or other substances in the blood or cerebrospinal fluid which can be used to measure disease progression or the effects of treatment. Researchers are also exploring ways to improve brain imaging and neuropsychological testing.

Treatment and management of FTD

So far, there is no cure for FTD and no way to slow down or prevent these diseases. However, there are ways to manage symptoms. A team of specialists — doctors, nurses, and speech, physical, and occupational therapists — familiar with these disorders can help guide treatment.What Are Frontotemporal Disorders? Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment (4)

Managing behavior changes in FTD

Behavior changes associated with bvFTD can upset and frustrate family members and other caregivers. Understanding changes in personality and behavior and knowing how to respond can reduce frustration and help provide the best care for a person with FTD.

Managing behavioral symptoms can involve several approaches. Here are some strategies to consider:

  • Try to accept rather than challenge someone with behavioral symptoms. Arguing or reasoning will not help, because they cannot control their behaviors or see that they are unusual or upsetting to others. Instead, be as sensitive as possible and understand that it’s the illness “talking.”
  • Take a “timeout” when frustrated — take deep breaths, count to 10, or leave the room for a few minutes.
  • To deal with apathy, limit choices and offer specific choices. Open-ended questions, such as “What do you want to do today?” are more difficult to answer than specific ones, such as “Do you want to go to the park or for a walk?”.
  • Maintain a regular schedule, reduce distractions, and modify the environment to reduce confusion and improve the person’s sleep.
  • If compulsive eating is an issue, consider supervising eating, limiting food choices, locking cabinets and the refrigerator, and distracting the person with other activities.

To ensure the safety of a person and his or her family, caregivers may have to take on new responsibilities or arrange care that was not needed before.

Medications are available to treat certain behavioral symptoms. Antidepressants called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors are commonly prescribed to treat social disinhibition and impulsive behavior. People with aggression or delusions sometimes take low doses of antipsychotic medications. If a particular medication is not working, a doctor may try another. Always consult a doctor before changing, adding, or stopping a drug or supplement.

Treating language problems in FTD

Treatment of PPA has two goals — maintaining language skills and using new tools and other ways to communicate. Treatment tailored to a person’s specific language problem and stage of PPA generally works best. Since language ability declines over time, different strategies may be needed as the illness progresses. The following strategies may help:

  • Use a communication notebook (an album of photos labeled with names of people and objects), gestures, and drawings to communicate without talking.
  • Store lists of words or phrases in a computer or phone to point to.
  • Speak slowly and clearly, use simple sentences, wait for responses, and ask for clarification if needed.
  • Work with a speech-language pathologist familiar with PPA to determine the best tools and strategies to use. Note that many speech-language pathologists are trained to treat aphasia caused by stroke, which requires different strategies from those used with PPA.

Managing movement problems in FTD

Medications and physical and occupational therapy may provide modest relief for the movement symptoms of FTD. A doctor who specializes in these disorders can guide treatment.

For people with corticobasal syndrome, Parkinson’s disease medicines may offer some temporary improvement. Physical and occupational therapy may help the person move more easily. Speech therapy can help them manage language symptoms.

(Video) 60 Minutes Archive: Frontotemporal Dementia

For people with progressive supranuclear palsy, sometimes Parkinson’s disease drugs provide temporary relief for slowness, stiffness, and balance problems. Exercises can keep the joints limber, and weighted walking aids — such as a walker with sandbags over the lower front rung — can help maintain balance. Speech, vision, and swallowing difficulties usually do not respond to any drug treatment. Antidepressants have shown modest success. For people with abnormal eye movements, bifocals or special glasses called prisms are sometimes prescribed.

People with FTD-ALS typically decline quickly over two to three years. During this time, physical therapy can help treat muscle symptoms, and a walker or wheelchair may be useful. Speech therapy may help a person speak more clearly at first. Later on, other ways of communicating, such as a speech synthesizer, can be used. The ALS symptoms of the disorder ultimately make it impossible to stand, walk, eat, and breathe on one’s own.

Physicians, nurses, social workers, and physical, occupational, and speech therapists who are familiar with these conditions can ensure that people with movement disorders get appropriate medical treatment and that their caregivers can help them live as well as possible.

The future of FTD treatment

Researchers are continuing to explore the biological changes in the body, including genetic mutations and proteins, that lead to FTD and identify and test possible new drugs and other treatments. They are also developing better ways to track disease progression, so that treatments, when they become available, can be directed to the right people. Clinical trials and studies are underway to advance these efforts. People with FTD and healthy people may be able to participate. To find out more, talk to your health care provider or visit the Alzheimers.gov Clinical Trials Finder.

Where to find FTD diagnosis and treatment

Columbia-Presbyterian Medical Center
Department of Neurology
New York, NY

Houston Methodist Hospital
Frontotemporal Degeneration Unit
Houston, TX

Indiana University School of Medicine
Indiana Alzheimer's Disease Center
Indianapolis, IN

Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine
Frontotemporal Dementia and Young-Onset Dementias Clinic
Baltimore, MD

Massachusetts General Hospital
Frontotemporal Disorders Unit
Boston, MA

Mayo Clinic
Department of Neurology
Rochester, MN
Jacksonville, FL
Phoenix or Scottsdale, AZ

Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine
Mesulam Center for Cognitive Neurology and Alzheimer's Disease
Chicago, IL

University of Alabama, Birmingham
Neurology Department, Division of Memory Disorders
Birmingham, AL

University of California, Los Angeles
Neurobehavior Clinic
Los Angeles, CA

(Video) Vascular dementia causes, symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, pathology

University of California, San Diego
Shiley-Marcos Alzheimer's Disease Research Center
La Jolla, CA

University of California, San Francisco
Memory and Aging Center
San Francisco, CA

University of Pennsylvania Health System
Penn Frontotemporal Degeneration Center
Philadelphia, PA

Washington University
Department of Neurology
St. Louis, MO

For more information about FTD

NIA Alzheimer’s and related Dementias Education and Referral (ADEAR) Center
The NIA ADEAR Center offers information and free print publications about Alzheimer’s and related dementias for families, caregivers, and health professionals. ADEAR Center staff answer telephone, email, and written requests and make referrals to local and national resources.

Explore the Alzheimers.gov portal for information and resources on Alzheimer’s and related dementias from across the federal government.

Association for Frontotemporal Degeneration

National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS)

National Library of Medicine

Eldercare Locator

(Video) What is frontotemporal dementia (FTD)?

This content is provided by the NIH National Institute on Aging (NIA). NIA scientists and other experts review this content to ensure it is accurate and up to date.

Content reviewed: July 30, 2021


What causes frontotemporal disorders? ›

In most cases, the cause of a FTD is unknown. Individuals with a family history of FTD are more likely to develop such a disorder. About 10 to 30% of bvFTD is due to specific genetic causes. FTD that runs in a family is often related to mutations (permanent changes) in certain genes.

What are the symptoms of frontotemporal disorders? ›

With FTD, unusual or antisocial behavior as well as loss of speech or language are usually the first symptoms. In later stages, patients develop movement disorders such as unsteadiness, rigidity, slowness, twitches, muscle weakness or difficulty swallowing.

What is the most common frontotemporal disorder? ›

The most common frontotemporal disorder, behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia (bvFTD), involves changes in personality, behavior, and judgment.

What is a common treatment for frontotemporal dementia? ›

Some types of antidepressants, such as trazodone, may reduce the behavioral problems associated with frontotemporal dementia. Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) — such as citalopram (Celexa), paroxetine (Paxil) or sertraline (Zoloft) — also have been effective in some people. Antipsychotics.

What causes temporal lobe damage? ›

As is the case with other traumatic brain injuries, damage to the temporal lobe most often occurs as a result of vehicle crashes, falls, and firearms.

Does stress cause FTD? ›

FTD Compared to CH Individuals

When both anxiety and depression were entered as variables, a significant increase in the risk of developing FTD was observed in patients who had reported anxiety on the HADS (p = 0.017; OR: 2.947, 95% CI: 1.209–7.158).

What are the early signs of frontotemporal dementia? ›

What are the symptoms of frontotemporal dementia?
  • Behavior and/or dramatic personality changes, such as swearing, stealing, increased interest in sex, or a deterioration in personal hygiene habits.
  • Socially inappropriate, impulsive, or repetitive behaviors.
  • Impaired judgment.
  • Apathy.
  • Lack of empathy.
  • Decreased self awareness.

What are the 7 stages of frontotemporal dementia? ›

Eight phases of FTD
  • Unexplained small things. ...
  • Driving and work problems. ...
  • Apathy. ...
  • Trouble with swallowing. ...
  • Behaviour. ...
  • Trouble with balance and mobility. ...
  • More physical symptoms. ...
  • The final days.
27 Sept 2021

What are 5 extreme behavior changes found with FTD? ›

Social withdrawal, apathy and limited interest in family, friends and hobbies may become evident. At times, they may behave inappropriately with strangers, lose their social manners, act impulsively and even break laws. People experiencing these changes may become self-centered, emotionally distant and withdrawn.

Does FTD affect memory? ›

Memory loss tends to be a more prominent symptom in early Alzheimer's than in early FTD, although advanced FTD often causes memory loss in addition to its more characteristic effects on behavior and language.

What Behaviours does the frontal lobe control? ›

The frontal lobes are important for voluntary movement, expressive language and for managing higher level executive functions. Executive functions refer to a collection of cognitive skills including the capacity to plan, organise, initiate, self-monitor and control one's responses in order to achieve a goal.

What are the three types of frontotemporal dementia? ›

Forms of Frontotemporal Dementia

Semantic variant primary progressive aphasia (svPPA) Non-fluent/agrammatic variant primary progressive aphasia (nfvPPA)

How do you slow down frontotemporal dementia? ›

There is no cure for FTD and no way to slow it down or prevent it. However, there are ways to help manage symptoms, which include changes in behavior, speech, and movement. Managing behavior changes in FTD. Try to recognize it's the illness “talking” and accept rather than challenge people with behavioral symptoms.

Can you recover from frontotemporal dementia? ›

There's currently no cure for frontotemporal dementia, but there are treatments that can help manage some of the symptoms.

How fast does frontal lobe dementia progress? ›

Disease duration in frontotemporal dementia is approximately 7–9 years on average from onset of clinical symptoms. It is, however, highly variable, and ranging between 18 months and >20 years [51, 110, 111]. Disease duration also varies across FTD subtypes.

How does temporal lobe damage affect personality? ›

Seizures of the temporal lobe often affect personality, causing lasting effects such as paranoid behavior, rage and aggression, altered sexual behavior, and perseverative speech.

Does stress affect the temporal lobe? ›

In the current study of 44 males randomized to stress (n = 23) or control (n = 21) groups, we found that stress increased cortisol, impaired recollection of neutral materials, and altered functional connectivity with medial temporal lobe regions.

What are 5 functions of the temporal lobe? ›

The main functions of the temporal lobes include understanding language, memory acquisition, face recognition, object recognition, perception and processing auditory information.

Do people with FTD sleep a lot? ›

Sleep disorders appear to be frequent comorbidities in patients with frontotemporal dementia (FTD). Insomnia and excessive daytime sleepiness commonly occur in patients with FTD and significantly contribute to caregiver burden and burnout.

What is the most prominent symptom of frontotemporal dementia? ›

The most common signs of frontotemporal dementia involve extreme changes in behavior and personality. These include: Increasingly inappropriate social behavior. Loss of empathy and other interpersonal skills, such as having sensitivity to another's feelings.

Is FTD caused by alcohol? ›

Alcohol's influence and the part it plays in FTD is not well studied and there is not much evidence supporting the idea that heavy alcohol consumption or alcoholism leads to FTD.

What age does frontotemporal dementia start? ›

Frontotemporal dementia

FTD is most often diagnosed in people between the ages of 45 and 65. This is different to Alzheimer's disease, vascular dementia and dementia with Lewy bodies, which all become more likely as people get older.

What happens to the brain when someone has frontotemporal dementia? ›

It is caused when the brain is damaged by disease. The word 'frontotemporal' refers to the two sets of lobes (frontal and temporal) in the brain that are damaged in this type of dementia. FTD occurs when disease damages nerve cells in these lobes.

Does frontal lobe dementia show on MRI? ›

Frontal and temporal lobe atrophy on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), with relative preservation of posterior areas, represent the imaging hallmark of frontotemporal lobar degeneration (the neuropathological changes underlying FTD) (Neary et al. 1998).

How long do frontal lobe dementia patients live? ›

The length of progression varies from 2 to over 20 years. Over time, FTD predisposes an individual to physical complications such as pneumonia, infection, or injury from a fall. The most common cause of death is pneumonia. Average life expectancy is 7 to 13 years after the start of symptoms.

What causes death in frontotemporal dementia? ›

Pneumonia is the most common cause of death in those who have frontotemporal dementia. They also are at increased risk for infections and fall-related injuries.

Is there medication for frontal lobe dementia? ›

There is currently no cure for frontotemporal dementia and the progression of the disease cannot be slowed down. Drugs that are commonly used to treat other types of dementia are not recommended for people with FTD.

Do FTD patients become violent? ›

A few people with FTD will become violent. It is essential that family and professional caregivers partner to find the right combination of environment, behavioral interventions and medications to ensure safety and maximize compassionate care.

Does FTD affect the eyes? ›

The ONL of FTD patients was about 10% thinner than controls, and this ONL thinning was the primary source of the outer retina thinning. The degree of retinal thinning among FTD patients also had a significant tendency to be worse when the patients' scores on a standard cognition test were lower.

What is the major skill affected in temporal lobe dementias? ›

Frontotemporal dementia refers to a group of diseases that involve the deterioration of your brain's frontal and temporal lobes. As those areas deteriorate, you lose the abilities those parts controlled. People with FTD commonly lose control of their behavior or ability to speak and understand spoken language.

What can mimic frontotemporal dementia? ›

FTD may be misdiagnosed as other psychiatric disorders, including schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, depression, or obsessive-compulsive disorder.

What is normal behavior for a person with frontal lobe damage? ›

The frontal lobe, for example, helps govern personality and impulsivity. If damaged, there might be no “braking mechanism” for self-control. A person may find he cannot control his anger or aggression. He may also make inappropriate comments to friends or strangers not realizing they are off color.

What medication helps frontal lobe? ›

Medications such as Ritalin (also known as methylphenidate) increase frontal lobe activity in individuals who have difficulty with self-regulation and self-control.

Does frontal lobe affect personality? ›

The frontal lobe, for example, helps govern personality and impulsivity. If damaged, there might be no "braking mechanism" for self-control. A person may find he cannot control his anger or aggression.

Does frontal lobe dementia affect walking? ›

In the later stages, some people with frontotemporal dementia develop physical problems and difficulties with movement. These can include: slow, stiff movements, similar to Parkinson's disease.

How is frontotemporal dementia diagnosed? ›

THE DIAGNOSIS OF FRONTOTEMPORAL DEGENERATION (FTD) GENERALLY INVOLVES: Medical history and detailed neurological examination. Neuropsychological examination to assess language, behavior, memory, executive and visual-spatial functions. Neuroimaging to determine where and how extensively brain regions have atrophied.

Can frontotemporal dementia be prevented? ›

Frontotemporal dementia is a neurodegenerative condition that tends to strike people between the ages of 45 and 65. Researchers say lifestyle changes can reduce a younger adult's risk of getting this disease. Experts recommend moderate physical exercise, mental games such as puzzles, and quality sleep.

Is there treatment for frontal lobe damage? ›

Treatment for frontal lobe damage can include medication, surgery, rehabilitation, or therapy.

Does dementia show on MRI? ›

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)

Repeat scans can show how a person's brain changes over time. Evidence of shrinkage may support a diagnosis of Alzheimer's or another neurodegenerative dementia but cannot indicate a specific diagnosis. MRI also provides a detailed picture of brain blood vessels.

Who is at risk for frontotemporal dementia? ›

Frontotemporal dementia is mostly diagnosed between the ages of 45 and 65 (though it can affect people younger or older than this). This is much younger than more common types of dementia such as Alzheimer's disease, which mostly affects people over 65.

At what age does frontotemporal dementia usually occur? ›

Frontotemporal dementia often begins between the ages of 40 and 65 but occurs later in life as well. FTD is the cause of approximately 10% to 20% of dementia cases.

Is frontotemporal dementia caused by alcohol? ›

Patients who start abusing alcohol later in life—after age 40—may be doing so secondary to an underlying neurologic condition, such as frontotemporal dementia, according to findings by a team of researchers from the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and the University of California, San Francisco.

How does frontotemporal dementia start? ›

The cause of FTD is unknown. Researchers have linked certain subtypes of FTD to mutations on several genes. Some people with FTD have tiny structures, called Pick bodies, in their brain cells. Pick bodies contain an abnormal amount or type of protein.

Why do people get frontotemporal dementia? ›

Causes of frontotemporal dementia

Frontotemporal dementia is caused by clumps of abnormal protein forming inside brain cells. These are thought to damage the cells and stop them working properly. The proteins mainly build up in the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain at the front and sides.

Is there a test for frontotemporal dementia? ›

Blood levels of a protein called NfL could help identify people with a brain disease called frontotemporal dementia, or FTD, even in its early stages. Having a biomarker to help detect and track FTD may help researchers in developing new treatments, which will likely work best when used early.

What drink is linked to dementia? ›

Alcohol related dementia, as the name suggests, is a form of dementia related to the excessive drinking of alcohol. This affects memory, learning and other mental functions.

Is frontal lobe dementia the same as frontotemporal dementia? ›

Frontotemporal dementia (FTD) is one of the less common types of dementia. It is sometimes called Pick's disease or frontal lobe dementia. The first noticeable FTD symptoms are changes to personality and behaviour and/or difficulties with language.

What is the name of the dementia caused by alcoholism? ›

Korsakoff syndrome is a chronic memory disorder caused by severe deficiency of thiamine (vitamin B-1). Korsakoff syndrome is most commonly caused by alcohol misuse, but certain other conditions also can cause the syndrome.


1. Apathy and impulsivity in frontotemporal lobar degeneration syndromes
(BRAIN Journals)
2. Urvashi’s story: living with frontotemporal dementia
(AlzheimersResearch UK)
3. An expert guide to frontotemporal dementia - Online interview
(Top Doctors UK)
4. What to expect with Frontotemporal Dementia?
(Think Your Health)
5. ‘There’s a cure in sight’
(AlzheimersResearch UK)
6. Frontotemporal Dementia
(Mayo Clinic)
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