Frontotemporal dementia (FTD) is caused by damage to the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain, impairing the functions of those areas.
There are three subtypes of frontotemporal dementia:
1. Behavioural variant frontotemporal dementia (bvFTD)
The bvFTD type, the most common type of FTD, involves changes in personality, behaviour, and judgement. For example, a person living with bvFTD can lose social etiquettes and act inappropriately in public (e.g., temper tantrums, touching strangers, public urination). A person’s memory may remain intact, at least in the early stages of the disease.
2. Primary progressive aphasia (PPA)
In the PPA type, language abilities such as speaking, writing, and understanding language are affected. PPA can be subcategorized into:
- Semantic type: A person can lose their ability to use and understand language
- Progressive nonfluent aphasia/agrammatic type: A person has trouble producing speech
3. Movement Disorders
This type of frontotemporal dementia involves problems with movement. Behavioural and language problems may or may not be present as well.
There are 3 disorders that are part of this subtype of frontotemporal dementia:
- Corticobasal syndrome (CBS): A person can experience increased difficulty with coordination, movement, speech, and thinking
- Progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP): A person can experience vision difficulties and loss of balance while walking
- Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), aka Lou Gehrig’s disease: A person experiences loss of control of the muscles that control movement, speech, eating, and breathing
The cause(s) of frontotemporal dementia are not well known. However, researchers have found some genes linked to frontotemporal dementia that account for one third of all cases.
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