Frontotemporal dementia (frontal dementia)

This disease (FTD) is caused by injuries to nerve cells in the frontal lobe. It’s most common amongst people 45-65 years of age, but is also present amongst elders. This distinguishes the disease from Alzheimer’s, vascular dementia, and Lewybody dementia, because all of those become more common the older you are.

There are various forms of frontotemporal dementia. A form with behavioral symptoms that first manifests itself as personality changes, the social ability fails. But there are also forms where, for example, the language is affected first. Classic characters at FTD are personality change, that the person becomes impulsive or does things that it does not usually. In other cases, the person may become listless and indiscriminate or repeat a particular behaviour. Not understanding yourself that you are sick, lacking insight, is very common.

People with FTD can often perform relatively well on common cognitive tests such as MMT or clock tests because it is the social ability that is affected. This ability is difficult to test, our cognitive tests are primarily designed for the other five abilities. Therefore, the relatives' description of the person and the change that has occurred in the last year/years becomes important.

It is not uncommon for these people's symptoms to first be interpreted as fatigue syndrome or depression. As the disease progresses, and the difficulties in coping with one's daily life become increasingly pronounced, it is becoming increasingly clear that it is a dementia.

There are hereditary types of FTD, even though they’re rare. If you’re worried about hereditary, please contact a specialist at a specialized clinic or at clinical genetics.

Johan Sundelöf, Senior Physician, Specialist in Geriatrics and Palliative Medicine
Reviewed by: Johan Sundelöf, Senior Physician, Specialist in Geriatrics and Palliative Medicine
Updated: January 22, 2021
Published: 15 December, 2020

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