Frontoemporal Degeneration (FTD)

Brain FTD
Frontotemporal Degeneration (dementia), FTD, is not a term you hear very often, but it’s important to know what it is. It presents very differently from Alzheimer’s disease.
I recently became a volunteer for the AFTD (Association of Frontotemporal Degeneration) because of an awesome, but heart-breaking presentation I heard at a professional networking meeting recently.
The presenter was telling us about her family’s experience with this form of dementia. Her husband was diagnosed with FTD at the age of 29. Soon after he was in need of nursing home care and he died at the age of 33 when their first child was 2 years old. He was quite young to have experienced this disease and it took numerous visits to several doctors before he was diagnosed properly.
FTD usually strikes people when they are in their 50’s or early 60’s, but it can be diagnosed at a much earlier age and its life span runs about 10 years. But as we know, and as we see in this unfortunate situation, every person is different. No two situations are alike.
FTD affects the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain. These are the areas behind the forehead and above the ears. So, what do these parts of the brain do……what “responsibility” do they have in our day to day life?
These parts of the brain control our executive functions which connect our past with the present and future. That includes organizing, long range planning, speaking, judgment, understanding language, managing space and time, as well as our emotions.
The behaviors we see are poor judgment, consequently inappropriate behaviors or speech; Inability to multi-task; Difficulty retrieving information; Emotional instability; Loss of fine motor skills; Inability to understand language; Mood swings; and little or no concern for others. People with FTD have difficulty in large spaces and with loud noises as it is difficult for them to concentrate and then process what is happening around them. It’s as if their internal filters are no longer working so they say and do things that are socially unacceptable. They do have memory loss, but that comes later in the disease process and not in the early stages. That is one of the things that distinguishes FTD from Alzheimer’s disease.
Many people are misdiagnosed over a period of years and move from doctor to doctor looking for answers. Recent research has linked FTD and ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease) as part of the same disease spectrum. Unfortunately, there is no cure for FTD. FTD is progressive and is a terminal disease.
If you suspect someone in your family might have this disease and is exhibiting some of the symptoms above, please contact The Association of Frontotemporal Degeneration  or by calling 866-507-7222. Their website and staff will be able to assist you with helpful information and materials.

Photo Credit: frontotemporaldementia.info

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  1. Right away I am ready to do my breakfast, once having my breakfast, I’m
    coming yet again to read further news.

    • I hope you read more of “The Alzheimerist” once you had your breakfast. And, I do hope you found the information to be helpful.

  2. Right here is the right web site for anybody who wishes to find out about this topic.
    You realize so much its almost tough to argue with
    you (not that I really would want to…HaHa). You definitely
    put a brand new spin on a subject that’s been written about for decades.
    Excellent stuff, just excellent!

    • So glad you found this information and it was helpful to you. FTD presents so differently from Alzheimer’s disease and many times there may be multiple misdiagnosis.

    • DCPutnam says:

      I’m so glad you found this to be helpful. Keep reading and learning.

  3. Wonderful blog you have here but I was wanting to know if you knew of any discussion boards that cover the same
    topics discussed in this article? I’d really
    like to be a part of community where I can get suggestions from other experienced people that share the same interest.
    If you have any suggestions, please let me know. Kudos!

    • DCPutnam says:

      Sheena – Thank you. I’m glad you found the information to be helpful. Are you responding from Germany?
      If you contact The Association for Frontotemporal Degeneration (AFTD) in the USA at http://www.theaftd.org they can connect you to an on-line support group that meets regularly.
      The (NIA) National Institutes for Health (USA) also has a brochure on-line that will give you a clear definition of the various types of FTD and other important information. It’s entitled “Frontotemporal Disorders – Information for Patients, Families and Caregivers.”
      If I can be of further help, please do not hesitate to contact me. You may also use: doreen@dcputnamconsulting.com
      Doreen

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