The term frontotemporal dementia (FTD) refers to a group of degenerative brain conditions that affect the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain. Scientists have observed abnormalities in a protein called tau in the brains of some people with FTD. The protein forms into tangles (also found in Alzheimer’s) that scientists think harm neurons. In Pick’s disease, one type of FTD, abnormal cells called Pick’s bodies are also found in the brain.
FTD can cause memory loss, speech problems and changes in personality and social behavior. Symptoms may also include problems with balance or walking. Some diagnosed with FTD experience enhanced creativity.
Researchers do not know what causes FTD, and there are no treatments to stop or slow the disease progression. Drugs typically prescribed for other types of memory loss, such as cholinesterase inhibitors and certain antipsychotic drugs, may not be appropriate for people with FTD.
Tangled Neuron Posts:
Alzheimer’s, Tangles and Tau
How to Recognize Frontotemporal Dementia
The Association for Frontemporal Dementias
The Alzheimer’s Society’s FTD Fact Sheet
FTD Caregiver Support Center
The Pick’s Disease Support Group
Pick’s Disease entry in the U.S. National Institutes of Health Medical Encylopedia
Article on FTD in an issue of the U.S. National Institute on Aging Newsletter (pdf file)
Summary of some case reports on enhanced creativity in FTD