Frontotemporal dementia (FTD) is a form of early-onset dementia that predominantly affects the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain. FTD is typically diagnosed after ruling out other causes of cognitive decline, such as Alzheimer’s disease and vascular causes. The diagnosis is based on a combination of clinical presentation, neuropsychological testing, and imaging techniques. The prevalence of FTD is estimated to be about 10-20 per 100,000 people worldwide.
In comparison to Alzheimer’s disease, FTD usually starts earlier in life at around 50 to 65 years old, with gradual progression over time.
Common signs and symptoms that may help differentiate FTD from Alzheimer’s disease include behavioral and personality changes; changes in language with difficulty finding words; lack of insight; decline in judgement; apathy or indifference; increased perseveration; compulsive behaviors; gait disturbances; muscle rigidity; and instability.
Brain MRIs of individuals with FTD typically show symmetric, frontal and/or temporal atrophy.
The key differences between Frontotemporal Dementia and Alzheimer’s dementia are:
– the areas of the brain affected
– the rate of progression
– FTD affects the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain while Alzheimer’s affects more widespread areas.
– FTD typically progresses more rapidly than Alzheimer’s; its associated physical symptoms include difficulty swallowing and speaking whereas those associated with Alzheimer’s are increased confusion, disorientation, memory loss, and changes in behavior.
– Finally, FTD is often misdiagnosed or overlooked due to lack of awareness about it compared to Alzheimer’s; FTD should be considered when there are progressive changes in personality or language without signs of significant memory decline