Frontotemporal Dementia

A type of rare brain disorder and second most common form of dementia (Decline in mental abilities severe enough to interfere with a person’s ability to carry out ever day activities.) is frontotemporal dementia (FTD), affects the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain, control speech and personality. FTD tends to first affect personality.

Eventually, disease progresses to affect speech, behavior and eventually memory. Behavioral symptoms include swearing at inappropriate times, outbursts of frustration, lack of appropriate social interaction, inappropriate sexual behavior, repetitive or being compulsive (specific repetitive acts such reading the same book over and over). Dietary habits may change by over eating (or compulsive eating) certain foods and personal hygiene becomes less important. Memory loss is not as severe as amnesia. Majority of frontotemporal dementia patients, develop difficulties to read and write. In worst cases, criminal behavior (Including shoplifting), poor financial judgment or impulsive buying can become prevalent.

This type of dementia occurs in adults between the ages of 34 and 75, but most cases are diagnosed during the 50s and 60s, affecting both sexes and forty percent is traced to family history. A child has a fifty percent chance to inherit this disease, when a relative already has been diagnosed with FTD. Sixty percent occurs sporadically with no known hereditary link. The duration of the illness averages about eight years or may last three to seventeen years before death. Frontotemporal dementia is usually diagnosed first by a psychiatrist. Currently, no treatment available stopping or reversing this disease. Often this disease is misdiagnosed or attributed to Alzheimer’s disease. Managing the signs and symptoms only course of treatment available.

Some cases of frontotemporal dementia, patients will develop Lou Gherig’s disease (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)): Progressive degeneration of the nerve cells that control muscle movements. Approximately 30,000 patients in the United States have this disease. Currently, being studied how FTD and Lou Gherig’s disease is connected.

Published online July 26, 2006, in Nature, research funded by the National Institute on Aging (NIA), part of the National Institute of Health (NIH) scientist discovered the genetic mutations that causes frontotemporal dementia. Progranulin is a type of protein known as growth factor. Discovered was a muted gene that codes progranulin. Mayo Clinic neurobiologist, Michael Hutton, Ph.D. said: ” One copy of the progranulin gene has been knocked out by the mutation, and therefore we have less porgranulin produced, which is enough on its own to cause the disease.” The muted inherited gene scientist can identify, located on the region of chromosome seventeen.

Difference between Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and Frontotemporal dementia (FTD):

Frontotemporal dementia patients often lack a concern for others compared to AD patients.
Alzheimer’s patient’s difficulty ability to learn and retain information compared to FTD patients, being able to keep track of recent events.

FTD primarily affects the frontal lobes (responsible for personality, judgment and planning/organization), and temporal lobes, which control speech and personality, whereby AD starts in the medial temporal lobe (Store general information about the world. Very important for language and face recognition.), but eventually affects the whole brain.
The average age onset of FTD is younger than Alzheimer’s disease.

Both FTD and Alzheimer’s disease have abnormal deposits of protein in the brain.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) diagnoses frontotemporal dementia. Upon review of an MRI scan reveals a loss of brain tissue.

Relieving the symptoms of FTD, a physician may prescribe antidepressant such as a serotinin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI), help reduce food cravings, loss of impulse control and compulsive activity. Also, prescribing anti-psychotic medication to alleviate in extreme cases symptoms of hallucinations, delusions, and aggression. Drugs that help mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease, cholinesterase inhibitors, fail to provide treatment for FTD patients, because these drugs increase the supply of messenger chemical acetylcholine to failing nerves (for AD patients), not affective treating frontotemporal dementia patients. Behavior modification may help control unacceptable or dangerous behaviors. Eventually, FTD patients will require twenty-four hour care and monitoring at home or institutionalized care facility.

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