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  • Today's topic is frontotemporal dementia or FTD.

  • Frontotemporal dementia refers to a group of uncommon disorders that affects the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain,

  • causing a problem with behavior, personality and language.

  • The frontal and temporal lobes are areas of the brain generally associated with personality, behavior and language.

  • According to the Alzheimer's Association, frontotemporal dementia may account for 20-50% of dementia cases in people younger than 65 years of age.

  • The condition tends to start at a small age.

  • Like other forms of dementia, frontotemporal dementia is progressive, developing slowly and gets gradually worse over time.

  • Frontotemporal dementia equally affects men and women.

  • Causes

  • Frontotemporal dementia occurs when the frontal and the temporal lobes of the brain shrink.

  • It is not fully understood why this happens, but there is often a genetic link.

  • Although a variety of mutations on several different genes have been linked to specific subtypes of the condition,

  • about one in every three people with the condition has a family history of dementia.

  • Some cases of frontal temporal dementia occur in people with no family history of dementia.

  • The degeneration that occurs in the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain is divided into two main subtypes,

  • one involving the accumulation of a protein called Tau in the brain, and the other involving the protein TDP 43.

  • Symptoms

  • Symptoms may vary greatly from one individual to the next.

  • Behavioral symptoms which may include apathy, a decline in personal hygiene, lack of judgment and inhibition,

  • increasingly inappropriate actions, lack of empathy and other interpersonal skills, changes in eating habit,

  • lack of awareness of thinking or behavioral changes, repetitive compulsive disorder.

  • Speech problems which may include speaking slowly, getting words in the wrong order, difficulty in using and understanding spoken words.

  • Movement problems which may include tremor, difficulty swallowing, muscle weakness, muscle spasm, rigidity, poor coordination.

  • Other problems may include struggling with planning and organization, getting distracted easily, loss of bladder or bowel control, memory loss which only tends to occur later on.

  • Diagnosis and treatment

  • No single test is available to identify the condition,

  • so what medical professionals try to do is identify certain characteristics and features while excluding other possible causes.

  • It's always difficult to make a diagnosis at the early stage because symptoms often overlap with those of other conditions.

  • The following tests may help with the diagnosis.

  • A blood test to see if symptoms are caused by other conditions, such as kidney or liver disease.

  • Neurological testing which may include a more extensive assessment of reasoning and memory skills.

  • This type of test may be helpful in determining the type of dementia if any is present.

  • Imaging tests such as MRI scans, or PET (positron emission tomograph) of the brain.

  • These tests provide visual image of the brain which may help the doctor pinpoint any visible abnormalities, such as clots, tumors or bleeding that may be responsible for symptoms.

  • Treatment

  • This condition can't be cured.

  • Treatment option involves managing the symptoms.

  • They include: antidepressants to reduce behavioral changes,

  • Antipsychotics,

  • speech therapy for people with language difficulties.

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Today's topic is frontotemporal dementia or FTD.

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