What is frontotemporal dementia (FTD)?

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Frontotemporal dementia, which makes up about 5 percent of dementia, is caused by damage to neurons in the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain.

Neurofibrillary tangles of the tau protein are present, just as they are in Alzheimer's disease, but amyloid plaques, which are found in Alzheimer's, are absent in this kind of dementia.

Frontotemporal dementia (FTD) describes a clinical syndrome associated with the shrinking of the frontal and temporal anterior lobes of the brain. Originally known as Pick's disease, the name and classification of FTD have been a topic of discussion for over a century. The current designation of the syndrome groups together Pick's disease, primary progressive aphasia, and semantic dementia as FTD. Some doctors propose adding corticobasal degeneration and progressive supranuclear palsy to FTD and calling the group Pick Complex. These designations will continue to be debated. As it is defined today, the symptoms of FTD fall into two clinical patterns-changes in behavior and problems with language. The first type features behavior that can be either impulsive (disinhibited) or bored and listless (apathetic) and includes inappropriate social behavior, lack of social tact, lack of empathy, distractability, loss of insight into the behaviors of oneself and others, an increased interest in sex, changes in food preferences, agitation or blunted emotions, neglect of personal hygiene, repetitive or compulsive behavior, and decreased energy and motivation. The second type primarily features symptoms of language disturbance, including difficulty making or understanding speech, often in conjunction with the behavioral type's symptoms. Spatial skills and memory remain intact. There is a strong genetic component to the disease; FTD often runs in families.

 This answer is based on source information from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke .

Frontotemporal dementia is a condition in which nerve cells in the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain deteriorate. Its prevalence among people with a family history of dementia suggests a strong genetic factor in the disease.

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