Frontotemporal Dementia (FTD)


  • Involves the parts of the brain behind the forehead or behind the ears
  • Typically occurs between ages 40 and 65, accounting for less than 5% of all dementias


  • Roughly 1/3 of FTD patients have inherited the disease
  • Personal history of motor neuron disease such as ALS


  • Memory loss is a later sign
  • Delusions and hallucinations are uncommon
  • Types
    • Behavior variant
      • Dramatic changes in personality
      • Apathy and social withdrawal
      • Loss of impulse and behavior control and will say unexpected, rude, or odd things to others
      • Loss of inhibitions involving food, drink, sex, emotions, and actions
      • Sugar craving
    • Primary Progressive Aphasia (PPA) variant
      • Language affected – Can’t find the word they want to say (expressive aphasia) and/or can’t understand what is said (receptive aphasia)
      • Uses nonsense words
    • Movement disorder with or without behavior variant or PPA
      • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease – Muscle wasting and weakness
      • Corticobasal syndrome – Loss of coordination of hands and legs
      • Progressive Supranuclear Palsy – Muscle stiffness and changes in posture and eye movements


  • Assessment through review of medical history and medications, observations during the appointment, and interviews with family or close friends
  • Physical and neurological exam, including memory test
  • A possible PET imaging brain scan or an MRI of the brain


  • No medications are currently available to treat or prevent FTD
  • Medications may alleviate or lessen some behaviors including agitation, irritability, and depression