Frontotemporal dementia: Introduction
Frontotemporal dementia includes a variety of types of dementia, seriously disabling neurodegenerative diseases of the brain that cause a progressive and permanent loss of cognitive and mental performance. Frontotemporal dementia causes shrinkage degeneration of the nerve cells of temporal and frontal lobes or areas of the brain. These areas of the brain are important to decision-making, language, emotion, personality, and behavior control.
Frontotemporal dementia is less common than some other types of dementia, such as Alzheimer's disease and vascular dementia. One type of frontotemporal dementia is called Pick's disease. Some forms of frontotemporal dementia are the result of hereditary conditions, but there is no known cause of frontotemporal dementia in some forms of the disease.
Symptoms of frontotemporal dementia generally begin in the fourth through sixth decade of life and are progressive. The rate of development of symptoms varies between individuals. The types of symptoms vary as well depending on the specific area of the brain that is affected. Symptoms can affect personality, behavior, language, memory, emotion and may also affect muscles. For more details on symptoms and complications, refer to symptoms of frontotemporal dementia.
There is no specific diagnostic test that can detect frontotemporal dementia. Making a diagnosis is based on symptoms and includes performing a variety of tests and assessments that evaluate the brain and can rule out other causes of symptoms, such as vascular dementia and psychiatric disorders. Diagnosis and treatment may require the collaboration of a variety of providers, including a primary care physician, neurologist, psychiatrist, and/or psychologist.
The diagnostic process begins with taking a thorough personal and family history, including symptoms, and completing a physical examination. This includes a neurological exam. A neurological exam evaluates the nerves and nervous system and such functions as alertness, orientation, reflexes, sensation, movement, balance, coordination, vision, and hearing.
Commonly used tests include a mini-mental state examination (MMSE), which evaluates mental function by assessing the answers provided to a series of questions. Imaging tests that are used in the diagnostic process include CT and MRI, which provide information about the structure of the brain. However, these tests may not be able to detect changes in the brain of frontotemporal dementia until late stages. A PET scan may be performed in some cases. A PET scan is an imaging test that can show how well different areas of the brain are functioning. An EEG (electroencephalogram) may be performed to measure and record the electrical activity of the brain through sensors that are painlessly attached to the scalp. An EEG can detect abnormal patterns of electrical activity that may be present in dementia.
It is possible that a diagnosis of frontotemporal dementia can be missed or delayed because symptoms may develop gradually and are similar to symptoms of other diseases and conditions. For more information about diseases and conditions that can mimic frontotemporal dementia, refer to misdiagnosis of frontotemporal dementia.
Frontotemporal dementia is not curable, and at this time there are no treatments that can slow the advancement of the disease. However, there are some medications and therapies that may help to reduce some symptoms and maximize independence and the quality of life. There are also clinical trials taking place to research potential treatments. For more information on treatment, refer to treatment of frontotemporal dementia. ...more »
Frontotemporal dementia: A degenerative brain disease involving frontal and temporal brain lobes resulting in dementia. Degeneration of the frontal lobe causes behavioral and personality changes degeneration of the temporal lobe causes semantic dementia.
More detailed information about the symptoms,
causes, and treatments of Frontotemporal dementia is available below.
Frontotemporal dementia: Symptoms
Symptoms of frontotemporal dementia affect decision-making, language, emotion, personality, and behavior control. The progression and type of symptoms vary between individuals, the type of frontotemporal dementia, and the exact area of the brain affected.
The symptoms of frontotemporal dementia can be similar to symptoms of other forms of dementia, such as Alzheimer's disease. However, ...more symptoms »
Frontotemporal dementia: Treatments
There are currently no treatments that can cure or stop the progression of frontotemporal dementia. The care of people with frontotemporal dementia is aimed at minimizing symptoms and maximizing independence and the quality of life as much as possible.
There are some medications that may help to manage some symptoms, and there are clinical trials taking place to research potential ...more treatments »
Frontotemporal dementia: Misdiagnosis
A diagnosis of frontotemporal dementia may be delayed or missed because early symptoms may develop gradually and or may be associated with the normal aging process. In addition, symptoms of frontotemporal dementia can mimic symptoms of a variety of diseases, disorders or conditions. These include psychosis, obsessive compulsive disorder, Alzheimer's disease, TIA, depression ...more misdiagnosis »
Symptoms of Frontotemporal dementia
See full list of 70
symptoms of Frontotemporal dementia
Home Diagnostic Testing
Home medical testing related to Frontotemporal dementia:
- Child Behavior: Home Testing
- Mental Health (Adults): Home Testing
Wrongly Diagnosed with Frontotemporal dementia?
Frontotemporal dementia: Related Patient Stories
Causes of Frontotemporal dementia
Read more about causes of Frontotemporal dementia.
Disease Topics Related To Frontotemporal dementia
Research the causes of these diseases that are similar to, or related to, Frontotemporal dementia:
Frontotemporal dementia: Undiagnosed Conditions
Commonly undiagnosed diseases in related medical categories:
Misdiagnosis and Frontotemporal dementia
Undiagnosed stroke leads to misdiagnosed aphasia: BBC News UK reported on a man who
had been institutionalized and treated for mental illness
because he suffered from sudden inability to speak.
This was initially misdiagnosed...read more »
Alzheimer's disease over-diagnosed: The well-known disease of Alzheimer's disease
is often over-diagnosed.
Patients tend to assume that any memory loss or forgetulness symptom might be Alzheimer's,
whereas there are many other...read more »
Dementia may be a drug interaction: A common scenario in aged care is for
a patient to show mental decline to dementia.
Whereas this can, of course, occur due to...read more »
Tremor need not be Parkinson's disease: There is the tendency to believe that
any tremor symptom, or shakiness, means Parkinson's disease.
The reality is that there are various possibilities,...read more »
Mild traumatic brain injury often remains undiagnosed: Although the symptoms
of severe brain injury are hard to miss,
it is less clear for milder injuries, or even...read more »
ADHD under-diagnosed in adults: Although the over-diagnoses of ADHD
in children is a well-known controversy, the reverse side related to adults.
Some adults can remain...read more »
MTBI misdiagnosed as balance problem: When a person has symptoms
such as vertigo or dizziness, a diagnosis of brain injury may go overlooked.
This is particularly true of mild traumatic brain...read more »
Rare diseases misdiagnosed as Parkinson's disease: A rare genetic
disorder is often misdiagnosed as Parkinson's disease for men in their 50's.
The disease Fragile X disorder can show only mild symptoms in the early years,
and...read more »
Bipolar disorder misdiagosed as various conditions by primary physicians: Bipolar disorder (manic-depressive disorder)
often fails to be diagnosed correctly by primary care physicians.
Many patients with...read more »
Eating disorders under-diagnosed in men: The typical patient with
an eating disorder is female.
The result is that men with eating disorders often...read more »
Depression undiagnosed in teenagers: Serious bouts of depression can be
undiagnosed in teenagers.
The "normal" moodiness of teenagers can cause severe medical depression
to be...read more »
Brain pressure condition often misdiagnosed as dementia: A condition
that results from an excessive pressure of CSF within the brain is often...read more »
Post-concussive brain injury often misdiagnosed: A study found that soldiers who had
suffered a concussive injury in battle often were misdiagnosed on their...read more »
Children with migraine often misdiagnosed: A migraine often fails to be
correctly diagnosed in pediatric patients.
These patients are not the typical migraine sufferers, but migraines can...read more »
Undiagnosed anxiety disorders related to depression: Patients with depression (see symptoms of depression)
may also have undiagnosed anxiety disorders (see symptoms of anxiety disorders).
Failure to diagnose these anxiety disorders...read more »
Vitamin B12 deficiency under-diagnosed: The condition of Vitamin B12 deficiency
is a possible misdiagnosis of various conditions, such as multiple sclerosis (see symptoms of...read more »
Read more about Misdiagnosis and Frontotemporal dementia
Frontotemporal dementia: Research Doctors & Specialists
Research related physicians and medical specialists:
- Nerve Specialists:
- Mental Health Specialists:
- Ear, Nose & Throat Specialists:
- Neurology (Brain/CNS Specialists):
- more specialists...»
Other doctor, physician and specialist research services:
Hospitals & Clinics: Frontotemporal dementia
Research quality ratings and patient safety measures
for medical facilities in specialties related to Frontotemporal dementia:
Hospital & Clinic quality ratings »
Choosing the Best Hospital:
More general information, not necessarily in relation to Frontotemporal dementia,
on hospital performance and surgical care quality:
Frontotemporal dementia: Rare Types
Rare types of diseases and disorders in related medical categories:
Evidence Based Medicine Research for Frontotemporal dementia
Medical research articles related to Frontotemporal dementia include:
Click here to find more evidence-based articles on the TRIP Database
Frontotemporal dementia: Animations
More Frontotemporal dementia animations & videos
Research about Frontotemporal dementia
Visit our research pages for current research about Frontotemporal dementia treatments.
Statistics for Frontotemporal dementia
Frontotemporal dementia: Broader Related Topics
Types of Frontotemporal dementia
User Interactive Forums
Read about other experiences, ask a question about Frontotemporal dementia, or answer someone else's question, on our message boards:
Definitions of Frontotemporal dementia:
Frontotemporal dementia is listed as a "rare disease" by the Office of
Rare Diseases (ORD) of the National Institutes of Health
(NIH). This means that Frontotemporal dementia, or a subtype of Frontotemporal dementia,
affects less than 200,000 people in the US population.
Source - National Institutes of Health (NIH)
Ophanet, a consortium of European partners,
currently defines a condition rare when it affects 1 person per 2,000.
They list Frontotemporal dementia as a "rare disease".
Source - Orphanet
Contents for Frontotemporal dementia: