Frontotemporal Dementia

1 What is Frontotemporal Dementia?

Frontotemporal dementia is a type of dementia that occurs due to disorders that cause the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain to shrink.

It mostly occurs in people between 40 and 75.

Signs and symptoms of this disease depend on the part og the brain that is affected.

Most people with frontotemporal dementia can go through drastic changes in personality and become socially inappropriate, impulsive or emotionally indefernt or even loss the ability to use langauge.

2 Symptoms

The signs and symptoms of frontotemporal dementia may vary from one patient to another.

Researchers have identified several classified several clusters of symptoms that tentd to occur together and are dominant subgroups of people with this disease. More than one symptom cluster may be presnt in a person.

The symptoms of dementia tend to woersen with time, usually years.

Behavioral changes include:

  • Loss of empathy and other interpersonal skills
  • An increase in inappropriate actions
  • Apathy
  • Repetitive compulsive disorder
  • A decline in personal hygiene
  • Lack of awareness of thinking or behavioral changes
  • Overreating

Movement disorders include

Speech and language problems can be preseent in some subtypes of frontotemporal dementia.

Symptoms depend on the subtype of frontotemporal dementia.

Primary progressive aphasia is accompanied by an increasing difficulty in using and uderstanding written and spoken language.                                                                                                                                                      

Semantic dementia is characterized by gramatically incorrect speech. People with this subtype have trouble understanding written or spoken language and remembering easy words for common objects.

People with phonological aphasia tend to talk slowly and have trouble naming objects. They also have problems with memory.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  

3 Causes

Frontotemporal dementia is caused by shrinkage of the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain.

It is linked to mutations of different genes. Frontotemporal dementia can be classified into two subtypes depending on the location of the gene mutation.

One mutation involves accumulation in the brain of a protein known as tau and the other invloves proteinTDP-43.

Pick bodies-microscopi abnormal tau protein-filled stractures within the brain may develop sometimes.

That is why this type of dementia was once refered to as Pick's disease.

Nowadays this terminology is reserved for the subtype that  features these abnormal structures.

4 Making a Diagnosis

Tests that can be used for diagnosis of frontotemporal dementia include:

  • Blood tests which are usually used for excluding other conditions.
  • Neuropsychological test which help doctors to assess a patient's reasoning and memory skills. This is one of the most effecint tests as it can help doctors to know the type of dementia that a person has at an early stage.
  • Brian imaging tests like computerized tomography (CT) scan and magnetic resonace imaging (MRI).

Thes tests can help doctors to pinpoint abnormalities like tumors, clots,bleeding or tumors in the brain.

5 Treatment

Like other types of dementia, frontotemporal dementia has no cure, but treatment can help to manage some of the symptoms.

Medications that can help reduce the symptoms include:

  • Antidepressants which can reduce the behavioral prblems. They include trazodone (Oleotro) and selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRI) like sertraline (Zoloft), paroxetine 9Paxil) and fluvoxamine (Luvox).
  • Antispychotics like olanzapine (Zyprexa) and quetiapine (Seroquel). Patients receiving these medications should be constantly monotored since these drugs acn increase the risk of mortality in older people.

Speech therapy can be very useful to patients who are experiencing language difficulties.

6 Alternative and Homeopathic Remedies

A few alternative remedies exist for managing the symptoms of frontotemporal dementia.

Exercising on a regular basis can help improve the mood and thinking skills of frontotemporal depression.

Other treatments that can be used include:

  • aromatherapy,
  • music therapy
  • pet therapy.

Thes treatments shouldn't replace the medications given for dementia.

Making some adjustments in the home can make daily activities easier and reduce the chances of chaving injuries.

7 Lifestyle and Coping

People with frontotemporal dementia are encouraged to join support groups in order to cope with the disease.

8 Risks and Complications

The only known risk of developing frontotemporal dementia is a family history of this disease.

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