The recent news of actor Bruce Willis’ diagnosis of frontotemporal dementia has sparked curiosity around the world to know more about this lesser known type of dementia. Here are a few facts as well as symptoms and treatment for frontotemporal dementia.
Basic Stats on Frontotemporal Dementia
- Frontotemporal dementia happens from damage to the neurons that are in the frontal and temporal brain lobes.
- About 60% of people with frontotemporal dementia are 45 to 54 years old.
- There are an estimated 50,000 to 60,000 people in the U.S. living with behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia in the U.S. That is the most common type of frontotemporal dementia.
- There are different types of frontotemporal dementia/frontotemporal disorders, including primary progressive aphasia and behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia as well as some rare movement disorders associated with frontotemporal dementias.
Researchers are only beginning to understand the causes of frontotemporal dementia. Some cases are associated with hereditary causes.
Symptoms of Frontotemporal Dementia
The symptoms of frontotemporal dementia will vary depending on the type that a person has. Symptoms of behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia include:
- Having a hard time organizing, planning, and prioritizing activities
- Repeating an activity or a word over and over
- Saying things that are inappropriate
- Having less interest in family or activities
- Having language or movement problems
Primary progressive aphasia is associated with a progressive, reduced ability to communicate and produce speech.
Treatment for Frontotemporal Dementia
Unfortunately, there are currently no treatments for frontotemporal dementia. A person who has it will need more supervision and care over time. However, there are medications to help manage the symptoms of frontotemporal dementia. Those who care for someone with frontotemporal dementia can learn better ways to communicate with the person who has it, to avoid confusion.
A team that includes doctors and other medical professionals can help guide the best care for frontotemporal dementia.
For more information, here are two helpful articles:
- National Institute on Aging, What Are Frontotemporal Disorders?
- Alzheimer’s Association, Frontotemporal Dementia
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