What is Frontotemporal Dementia? Causes, Symptoms and Treatments


By Remmya Kaparampil | March thirty first, 2022

Frontotemporal lobar degeneration, also referred to as frontotemporal dementia (FTD), refers to numerous problems that trigger cell harm and have an effect on the mind. FTD is the fourth most typical reason for dementia.

The Alzheimer’s Affiliation estimates that fifty,000–60,000 individuals in the USA have FTD, and nearly all of sufferers are between 45 and 65 years previous.

FTD happens when the frontal and temporal lobes of the mind shrink. The frontal and temporal lobes are answerable for persona, habits and language. As a result of shrinkage of the lobes, individuals residing with FTD usually expertise drastic behavioral or verbal adjustments earlier than exhibiting indicators of reminiscence loss.


What Is the Historical past Behind FTD?

Dr. Arnold Decide, a German neurologist, found Decide’s illness (later identified to be FTD) in 1892. He encountered a affected person with distinct signs affecting their language, so Decide wished to dig deeper. This affected person is believed to be the primary documented case of major progressive aphasia. Later, he checked out two different sufferers who have been experiencing behavioral adjustments, decreased cognitive operate and language difficulties. Decide decided that dementia can have an effect on sure areas of the mind that trigger these explicit adjustments.

What Causes FTD?

Extra lately, scientists examined the brains of 21 sufferers who had varied behavioral signs of FTD and located 4 phases of tau protein deposition in 4 areas of the mind:

  • Stage 1: Frontotemporal limbic/paralimbic and neocortical areas that management studying, reminiscence, motion and judgement
  • Stage 2: Subcortical buildings together with the basal ganglia, which is answerable for motion; locus coeruleaus, which is especially answerable for arousal, vigilance and a spotlight; and raphe nuclei, which produces serotonin
  • Stage 3: Major motor cortex and pre-cerebellar nuclei, each answerable for motor operate
  • Stage 4: Visible cortex, answerable for having the ability to see

The outcomes supplied a greater understanding of the scientific signs and bodily deterioration which can be current in individuals with FTD attributable to tau. Along with tau, the protein TDP43 is current within the brains of some individuals with FTD. These two primary proteins have additionally been discovered to be related to Alzheimer’s illness.

What Are the Signs of FTD?

Frontotemporal dementia signs embody restricted judgement, socially inappropriate habits, fixed temper adjustments, lack of language skills and empathy, in addition to points with steadiness and motion.

Based on the Alzheimer’s Affiliation, there are three symptom subtypes of FTD:

  • Habits variant frontotemporal dementia (bvFTD) causes main adjustments in persona and habits, together with an individual’s judgement expertise, empathy and foresight. This sometimes happens between the ages of fifty and 60, however may also begin as early as 20 and as late as 80 years previous.
  • Major progressive aphasia (PPA) impacts language or verbal skills, writing and understanding sure duties. PPA sometimes happens round 65 years previous.
    • There are two forms of PPA:
      • Semantic variant of PPA impacts the power to talk or kind phrases in a sentence.
      • Nonfluent/agrammatic variant of PPA results in pauses when talking.
  • Disturbances of motor (or muscle) operate
    • There are three forms of motor disfunction:
      • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), or muscle weak point or losing
      • Corticobasal syndrome causes legs and arms to lack coordination or change into inflexible
      • Progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP) causes points with strolling, muscle tissue, posture and will influence eye motion

FTD might result in different points like pneumonia, the main reason for demise from FTD. Folks with FTD even have an elevated threat of falls or creating infections.

How Is FTD Recognized?

If a cherished one has signs of FTD, it is very important refer them to a number of specialists, similar to a psychiatrist, earlier than an correct prognosis is made. A specialist will collect an in depth medical historical past and full a neurological examination. Throughout the examination, the specialist might assess an individual’s language skills, reminiscence or visual-spatial skills utilizing MRIs (magnetic resonance imaging). Blood exams might also be completed to get rid of different illnesses which have comparable signs to FTD. 

Who Does FTD Have an effect on?

FTD usually causes younger onset dementia. Whereas the illness sometimes happens earlier than the age of 65, it might additionally begin as early as your 20s. FTD will be genetically inherited, and it impacts the same quantity of women and men.

What Is the Distinction Between FTD and Alzheimer’s?

There are key variations between FTD and Alzheimer’s. It is very important perceive the variations so there’s an correct prognosis for sufferers.

Whereas Alzheimer’s threat goes up as individuals age, persons are usually recognized with FTD of their 40s and early 60s. The Alzheimer’s Affiliation stories that with Alzheimer’s, reminiscence loss is commonly the primary symptom that seems. With FTD, individuals often expertise behavioral and language adjustments first. As well as, individuals with Alzheimer’s might have problem recalling names, however often don’t have critical issues with speech till later phases. Within the early phases of FTD, somebody could also be obscure or have bother studying. As Alzheimer’s progresses, hallucinations change into extra widespread, although they aren’t as widespread in FTD.

Is There a Remedy for FTD?

Sadly, there is no such thing as a remedy but. Nevertheless, some remedies might assist alleviate signs. Medicine similar to antidepressants and antipsychotics may assist with sure behavioral signs, although sufferers ought to seek the advice of with a specialist earlier than contemplating taking these medicine. Sufferers with language difficulties might profit from talking with a speech and language pathologist. Folks with FTD reside for six to eight years on common.

Be taught extra about several types of dementia right here.


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