Frontotemporal Dementia (FTD)


This is the name we give to a group of disorders that affect the brain's frontal and temporal lobes. With this type of dementia, nerve cells in these lobes become damaged, which causes the lobes to shrink. This causes profound changes in the way a person thinks and behaves. And it gets worse over time.


Why does it happen? Well, we don't fully understand the cause. In some people, it may be linked to genetics. But you can also develop frontotemporal dementia without a family history of this disease. More research is needed.


What are the symptoms? The parts of the brain affected by this form of dementia help make us who we are. The frontal lobes control high-level thinking, emotions and movement. They give us our personality. The temporal lobes play a role in hearing and language. They help us know others and understand their feelings. As these parts of the brain stop working, the person may start acting in ways that are unlike them. They may do embarrassing and mean things. They may laugh or cry at the wrong time. Their eating habits may change. They may have trouble understanding speech and written language. And they may have problems with their motor skills. These may include things like tremor, muscle spasms and falls. Ask the doctor for a full list of symptoms.


How do we treat it? There is no cure for frontotemporal dementia. But we can help manage the symptoms. You may benefit from physical and occupational therapy. Medication may help, too. A doctor will create a plan that's right for you.