|Classification and external resources|
|OMIM||600274 105550 614260|
Frontotemporal dementia (FTD) is a condition resulting from the progressive deterioration of the frontal lobe of the brain. Over time, the degeneration may advance to the temporal lobe. Second only to Alzheimer's disease (AD) in prevalence, FTD accounts for 20% of pre-senile dementia cases. Symptoms can begin to appear on average around 45 to 65 years of age, regardless of gender. The most common symptoms include significant changes in social and personal behavior, as well as a general blunting of emotions. Currently, there is no cure to FTD, but there are treatment options available that help alleviate the symptoms.
Signs and symptoms
FTD is traditionally difficult to diagnose due to the heterogeneity of the associated symptoms. Symptoms are classified into three groups based on the functions of the frontal and temporal lobes:
- Behavioural variant FTD (bvFTD). Behavioural symptoms include lethargy and aspontaneity on the one hand, and disinhibition on the other. Apathetic patients may become socially withdrawn and stay in bed all day or no longer take care of themselves. Disinhibited patients can make inappropriate (sometimes sexual) comments or perform inappropriate acts. Patients with FTD can sometimes get into trouble with the law because of inappropriate behavior such as stealing or speeding. Recent findings indicate that psychotic symptoms are rare in FTD, possibly due to limited temporal-limbic involvement.. Among FTD patients, approximately 2% have delusions, sometimes with paranoid ideation. Hallucinations are rare. These psychotic symptoms are significantly less prevalent than what is seen in AD patients, approximately 20% have delusions and paranoia.
- Progressive nonfluent aphasia (PNFA). Patients present with a breakdown in speech fluency due to articulation difficulty, phonological and/or syntactic errors but preservation of word comprehension.
- Semantic dementia (SD). Some patients remain fluent with normal phonology and syntax but increasing difficulty with naming and word comprehension. It has been researched that some may even go through depression and lose their inhibitions and exhibit antisocial behavior.
FTD patients tend to struggle with binge eating and compulsive behaviors. These binge eating habits are often associated with abnormal eating behavior including overeating, stuffing onself with food, changes in food preferences (cravings for more sweets, carbohydrates), eating inedible objects and snatching food from others. Recent findings have indicated that the neural structures responsible for eating changes in FTD include atrophy in the right ventral insula, striatum and orbitofrontal cortex on structural MRI voxel-based morphometry (right hemisphere).
Executive function is the cognitive skill of planning and organizing. Most FTD patients become unable to perform skills that require complex planning or sequencing. In addition to the characteristic cognitive dysfunction, a number of primitive reflexes known as frontal release signs are often able to be elicited. Usually the first of these frontal release signs to appear is the palmomental reflex which appears relatively early in the disease course whereas the palmar grasp reflex and rooting reflex appear late in the disease course.
The following abilities in the FTD patients are preserved:
The following abilities in FTD patients are affected:
- Social behavior/conduct
- Regulation of emotion
- Ability to focus
- Utilization behavior: neurobehavioral disorder where the patients grab objects in view and start to conduct the right behavior at the wrong time. For example, a patient would attempt to drink from an empty cup.
- Inappropriate speech/actions
In rare cases, FTD can occur in patients with motor neuron disease (MND) (typically amyotrophic lateral sclerosis). The prognosis for people with MND is worse when combined with FTD, shortening survival by about a year.
A number of case series have now been published looking at the pathological basis of frontotemporal dementia. As with other syndromes associated with frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD), a number of different pathologies are associated with FTD:
- Tau pathology. In a healthy individual, tau proteins stabilize microtubules, which are major component of the cytoskeleton. Examples include Pick's disease, now also referred to as FTLD-tau, and other tau-positive pathology including FTDP-17, corticobasal degeneration, and progressive supranuclear palsy. Approximately 50% of FTD cases will present with tau pathology at post-mortem.
- TDP-43 pathology. Previously described as dementia with ubiquitin positive, tau- and alpha-synuclein negative inclusions with and without motor neuron degeneration. FTLD-TDP43 accounts for approximately 40% of FTD(± MND).
- FUS pathology. Cases with underlying FUS pathology tend to present with behavioural variant FTD (bvFTD), but the correlation is by no means reliable enough to predict the post mortem pathology. FTLD-FUS represents only 5–10% of clinically diagnosed FTD.
- Dementia lacking distinctive histology (DLDH) is a rare entity and represents the remaining small percentage of FTD that cannot be positively diagnosed as any of the above at post-mortem.
- In rare cases, patients with clinical FTD were found to have changes consistent with Alzheimer's disease on autopsy
- Evidence suggests that FTD selectively impairs spindle neurons, a type of neuron which has only been found in the brains of humans, great apes, and whales.
- Deficiencies of the micronutrients folate and B12 have been associated with cognitive impairment in individuals with FTD. Chronic folate deficiency has also been implicated in cerebral atrophy, leading to neurological impairment.
Structural MRI scans often reveal frontal lobe and/or anterior temporal lobe atrophy but in early cases the scan may seem normal. Atrophy can be either bilateral or asymmetric. Registration of images at different time points of time (e.g., one year apart) can show evidence of atrophy that otherwise (at individual time points) may be reported as normal. Many research groups have begun using techniques such as magnetic resonance spectroscopy, functional imaging and cortical thickness measurements in an attempt to offer an earlier diagnosis to the FTD patient. Fluorine-18-Fluorodeoxyglucose Positron Emission Tomography (FDG-PET) scans classically show frontal and/or anterior temporal hypometabolism, which helps differentiate the disease from Alzheimer's disease. The PET scan in Alzheimer's disease classically shows biparietal hypometabolism. Meta-analyses based on imaging methods have shown that frontotemporal dementia mainly affects a frontomedial network discussed in the context of social cognition or 'theory of mind'. This is entirely in keeping with the notion that on the basis of cognitive neuropsychological evidence, the ventromedial prefrontal cortex is a major locus of dysfunction early on in the course of the behavioural variant of frontotemporal degeneration. The language subtypes of frontotemporal lobar degeneration (semantic dementia and progressive nonfluent aphasia) can be regionally dissociated by imaging approaches in vivo.
The confusion between Alzheimer's and FTD is justifiable due to the similarities between their initial symptoms. Patients do not have difficulty with movement and other motor tasks. As FTD symptoms appear, it is difficult to differentiate between a diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease and FTD. There are distinct differences in the behavioral and emotional symptoms of the two dementias, notably, the blunting of emotions seen in FTD patients. In the early stages of FTD, anxiety and depression are common, which may result in an ambiguous diagnosis. However, over time, these ambiguities fade away as this dementia progresses and defining symptoms of apathy, unique to FTD, start to appear.
|This section may be confusing or unclear to readers. (December 2012)|
Through recent findings it has been suggested that vivo brain imaging of tau aggregation in frontal temporal dementia using [F-18] FDDNP positron emission tomography is more visual and has enhanced the ability to have a deeper understanding in frontal temporal dementia. Previous, fluorescent microscopy studies of Alzheimer's disease (AD) brain specimens have shown that [F-18] FDDNP displays an excellent visualization of interneuronal neurofibrillary tangles (NFTs). [F-18]FDDNP is useful in imaging frontal temporal dementia. Visual images of [F-18] FDDNP-PET images emphasized a frontal signal in FTD compared to prominent temporal signals in AD. [F-18]FDDNP-PET has allowed the enhanced visualization of tauopathies in patients. This has aided in differentiating FTD from parietal and temporal signals in AD. Further, the ability of [F-18] FDDNP to entitle tauopathies in vivo gives a tool for monitoring the effect of therapies to eliminate NFT accumulation.
Recent studies over several years have developed new criteria for the diagnosis of behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia (bvFTD). Six distinct clinical features have been identified as symptoms of bvFTD.
- Loss of Sympathy/Empathy
- Perservative/compulsive behaviors
- Dysexecutive neuropsychological profile
Of the six features, three must be present in a patient to diagnose one with possible bvFTD. Similar to standard FTD, the primary diagnosis stems from clinical trials that identify the associated symptoms, instead of imaging studies. The above criteria are used to distinguish bvFTD from disorders such as Alzheimer's and other causes of dementia. In addition, the new criteria allow for a diagnostic hierarchy distinguished possible, probable, and definite bvFTD based on the number of symptoms present.
bvFTD: The role of orbitofrontal cortex and neuropsychological tests
The progression of the degeneration caused by bvFTD may follow a predictable way. The degeneration begins in the orbitofrontal cortex and medial aspects such as ventromedial cortex. In latter stage, it gradually expands its area to the dorsolateral cortex and the temporal lobe. Thus, the detection of dysfunction of orbitofrontal cortex and ventromedial cortex is important in the detection of early stage bvFTD. As stated above, a behavioural change may occur before the appearance of any atrophy in the brain in the course of the disease. Because of that, image scanning such as MRI can be insensitive to the early degeneration and it is difficult to detect early-stage bvFTD.
In neuropsychology, there is an increasing interest in using neuropsychological tests such as Iowa gambling task or Faux Pass Recognition test as an alternative of image scanning for the diagnosis of bvFTD. Both Iowa gambling task and Faux Pass test are known to be sensitive to the dysfunction of orbitofrontal cortex.
Faux Pass Recognition test is intended to measure one’s ability to detect faux pas types of social blunders (accidentally make a statement or an action that offends others). It is suggested that people with orbitofrontal cortex dysfunction show tendency of making social blunders due to deficit in self-monitoring. (Beer et al) Self-monitoring is the ability of individuals to evaluate their behaviour to make sure that their behaviour is appropriate in particular situations. The impairment in self-monitoring leads to lack of social emotion signals. The social emotions such as embarrassment are important in the way that it signals to adapt social behaviour in appropriate manner to maintain relationships with others. Thus the patients with the damage to OFC, though, remain intact knowledge of social norms, they fail to apply it to actual behaviour because they fail to generate social emotions that promote adaptive social behaviour.
The other test, Iowa gambling task, is a psychological test intended to simulate real-life decision making. The underlying theory for this test is somatic marker hypothesis. This hypothesis argues that when people have to make complex uncertain decisions, we employ both cognitive and emotional processes to assess the values of the choices available to them. Every single time people make a decision, both physiological signals and evoked emotion (somatic marker) are associated with their outcomes and it accumulates as experience. People tend to choose the choice which might produce the outcome reinforced with positive stimuli, thus it biases decision-making towards certain behaviours while avoiding others. It is thought that somatic marker is processed in orbitofrontal cortex.
The symptoms observed in bvFTD are caused by dysfunction of orbitofrontal cortex, thus these two neuropsychological tests might be useful in detecting the early.stage bvFTD. However, as self-monitoring and somatic marker processes are so complex, it involves other brain regions. Therefore, neuropsychological tests are sensitive to the dysfunction of orbitofrontal cortex, yet not specific to it. The failure in the tests do not necessarily mean that they show the dysfunction of the orbitofrontal cortex.
In order to solve this problem, some researchers combined neuropsychological tests which detect the dysfunction of orbitofrontal cortex into one so that it increases its specificity to the degeneration of frontal lobe in order to detect the early-stage bvFTD. They invented Executive and Social Cognition Battery which comprises five neuropsychological tests.
- Iowa gambling task
- Faux Pass test
- Hotel task
- Mind in the Eyes
- Multiple Errands Task
The result has shown that this test is more sensitive in detecting the deficits in early bvFTD.
A higher proportion of FTD cases seem to have a familial component than more common neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer's disease. More and more mutations and genetic variants are being identified all the time, so the lists of genetic influences require consistent updating.
- Tau-positive frontotemporal dementia with parkinsonism (FTDP-17) is caused by mutations in the MAPT gene on chromosome 17 that encodes the Tau protein It has been determined that there is a direct relationship between the type of tau mutation and the neuropathology of gene mutations. The mutations at the splice junction of exon 10 of tau lead to the selective deposition of the repetative tau in neurons and glia. The pathological phenotype associated with mutations elsewhere in tau is less predictable with both typical neuroﬁbrillary tangles (consisting of both 3 repeat and 4 repeat tau) and Pick bodies (consisting of 3 repeat tau) having being described (See Genetics Section of Tau Protein page).) The presence of tau deposits within glia is also variable in families with mutations outside of exon 10. This disease is now informally designated FTDP-17T. FTD shows a linkage to the region of the tau locus on chromosome 17, but it is believed that there are two loci leading to FTD within megabases of each other on chromosome 17.
- FTD caused by FTLD-TDP43 has numerous genetic causes. Some cases are due to mutations in the GRN gene, also located on chromosome 17. Others are caused by VCP mutations, although these patients present with a complex mixture of Inclusion body myopathy, Paget's disease of bone, and FTD. The most recent addition to the list is a hexanucleotide repeat expansion in the promotor region of C9ORF72. Only one or two cases have been reported describing TARDBP (the TDP-43 gene) mutations in a clinically pure FTD (FTD without MND).
- No genetic causes of FUS pathology in FTD have yet been reported.
Currently, there is no cure for FTD. Treatments are available to manage the behavioral symptoms. Disinhibition and compulsive behaviors can be controlled by selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). Although Alzheimer's and FTD share certain symptoms, they cannot be treated with the same pharmacological agents because the cholinergic systems are not affected in FTD.
Because FTD often occurs in younger people (i.e. in their 40's or 50's), it can severely affect families. Patients often still have children living in the home. Financially, it can be devastating as the disease strikes at the time of life that is often the top wage-earning years.
Symptoms of frontotemporal dementia progress at a rapid, steady rate. Patients suffering from the disease can survive between 2–10 years. Eventually patients will need 24-hour care for daily function.
- Snowden JS, Neary D, Mann DM (February 2002). "Frontotemporal dementia". Br J Psychiatry 180: 140–3. doi:10.1192/bjp.180.2.140. PMID 11823324.
- Mendez MF, Shapira JS, Woods RJ, Licht EA, Saul RE (2008). "Psychotic symptoms in frontotemporal dementia: prevalence and review". Dement Geriatr Cogn Disord 25 (3): 206–11. doi:10.1159/000113418. PMID 18204254., See "Psychotic symptoms."
- Hodges JR, Patterson K, Ward R, et al. (January 1999). "The differentiation of semantic dementia and frontal lobe dementia (temporal and frontal variants of frontotemporal dementia) from early Alzheimer's disease: a comparative neuropsychological study". Neuropsychology 13 (1): 31–40. doi:10.1037/0894-4184.108.40.206. PMID 10067773.
- Piguet O (November 2011). "Eating disturbance in behavioural-variant frontotemporal dementia". J. Mol. Neurosci. 45 (3): 589–93. doi:10.1007/s12031-011-9547-x. PMID 21584651.
- Kramer JH, Jurik J, Sha SJ, et al. (December 2003). "Distinctive neuropsychological patterns in frontotemporal dementia, semantic dementia, and Alzheimer disease". Cogn Behav Neurol 16 (4): 211–8. doi:10.1097/00146965-200312000-00002. PMID 14665820.
- Olney RK, Murphy J, Forshew D, et al. (December 2005). "The effects of executive and behavioral dysfunction on the course of ALS". Neurology 65 (11): 1774–7. doi:10.1212/01.wnl.0000188759.87240.8b. PMID 16344521.
- Liscic RM, Storandt M, Cairns NJ, Morris JC (April 2007). "Clinical and psychometric distinction of frontotemporal and Alzheimer dementias". Arch. Neurol. 64 (4): 535–40. doi:10.1001/archneur.64.4.535. PMID 17420315.
- Seeley WW, Carlin DA, Allman JM, Macedo MN, Bush C, Miller BL, Dearmond SJ (December 2006). "Early frontotemporal dementia targets neurons unique to apes and humans". Annals of Neurology 60 (6): 660–7. doi:10.1002/ana.21055. PMID 17187353.
- Lovati C, Galimberti D, Pomati S, et al. (June 2007). "Serum folate concentrations in patients with cortical and subcortical dementias". Neurosci. Lett. 420 (3): 213–6. doi:10.1016/j.neulet.2007.04.060. PMID 17532571.
- Engelborghs S, Vloeberghs E, Maertens K, et al. (April 2004). "Correlations between cognitive, behavioural and psychological findings and levels of vitamin B12 and folate in patients with dementia". Int J Geriatr Psychiatry 19 (4): 365–70. doi:10.1002/gps.1092. PMID 15065230.
- Schroeter ML, Raczka KK, Neumann J, von Cramon DY (2008). "Neural networks in frontotemporal dementia – A meta-analysis.". Neurobiology of Aging 29 (3): 418–426. doi:10.1016/j.neurobiolaging.2006.10.023. PMID 17140704.
- Rahman S, Sahakian BJ, Hodges JR, Rogers RD, Robbins TW (August 1999). "Specific cognitive deficits in mild frontal variant frontotemporal dementia". Brain 122 (Pt 8): 1469–93. PMID 10430832.
- Schroeter ML, Raczka KK, Neumann J, von Cramon DY (2007). "Towards a nosology for frontotemporal lobar degenerations – A meta-analysis involving 267 subjects.". NeuroImage 36 (3): 497–510. doi:10.1016/j.neuroimage.2007.03.024. PMID 17478101.
- Steinbart EJ, Smith CO, Poorkaj P, Bird TD (November 2001). "Impact of DNA testing for early-onset familial Alzheimer disease and frontotemporal dementia". Arch. Neurol. 58 (11): 1828–31. doi:10.1001/archneur.58.11.1828. PMID 11708991.
- Small, Gary W.; Kepe, Vladimir; Huang, Sung C.; Wu, H.M.; Siddarth, Prabha; Ercoli, Linda; Miller, Karen; Lavretsky, Helen; Wrigth, Benjamin C.; Shoghi-Jadid, Kooresh; Satyamurthy, Nagichettiar; Phelps, Michael E.; Barrio, Jorge R. (2004). "P2-206 In vivo brain imaging of tau aggregation in frontal temporal dementia using [F-18]FDDNP positron emission tomography". Neurobiology of Aging 25: S288–S289. doi:10.1016/S0197-4580(04)80952-7. ISSN 0197-4580.
- Rascovsky K, Hodges JR, Knopman D, et al. (September 2011). "Sensitivity of revised diagnostic criteria for the behavioural variant of frontotemporal dementia". Brain 134 (Pt 9): 2456–77. doi:10.1093/brain/awr179. PMC 3170532. PMID 21810890.
- Krueger, C.E, Bird, A.C, Growdon, M.E, Jang, J.Y, Miller, B.L and Kramer, J.K. (2009.). "Conflict in monitoring early frontotemporal dementia". Neurology 73: 349–55.
- Torralva, T, Roca, M, Gleichgerrcht, E, Bekinschtein, T and Manes, F. (2009.). "A neuropsychological battery to detectspecific executive and social cognitive impairments in early frontotemporal dementia". Brain 132: 1299–1309.
- Beer, J.S, john, O.P, Scabini, D and Knight, R.T. (2006.). "Orbitofrontal cortex and Social behaviour: Integrating Self-monitoring and Emotion-cognition interactions". Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience 18: 871–888.
- Damasio, A.R. (29 October 1996). "The Somatic marker hypothesis and the possible functions of the prefrontal cortex". Phil. Trans. R. Soc. Lond. B 351 (1346): 1413–20. doi:10.1098/rstb.1996.0125. PMID 8941953.
- Luc Buée; André Delacourte (1999). "Comparative biochemistry of tau in progressive supranuclear palsy, corticobasal degeneration, FTDP-17 and Pick's disease.". Brain Pathology 9 (4): 681–693. doi:10.1111/j.1750-3639.1999.tb00550.x. PMID 10517507.
- Hardy, John; Parastoo Momeni; Bryan J. Traynor (April 2006). Dementia "Frontal temporal dementia: dissecting the aetiology and pathogenesis". Brain: A journal of Neurology. 26 4 (4): 830–831. Retrieved 1 December 2012.
- Swartz JR, Miller BL, Lesser IM, Darby AL (May 1997). "Frontotemporal dementia: treatment response to serotonin selective reuptake inhibitors". J Clin Psychiatry 58 (5): 212–6. PMID 9184615.
- Kertesz A (June 2004). "Frontotemporal dementia/Pick's disease". Arch. Neurol. 61 (6): 969–71. doi:10.1001/archneur.61.6.969. PMID 15210543.
- "Hypotension May Cause Frontotemporal Dementia : Neurology Today".
- Liu, W (1 March 2004). "Behavioral disorders in the frontal and temporal variants of frontotemporal dementia". Journal of Neurology. 5 62: 742–748. doi:10.1212/01.WNL.0000113729.77161.C9.
- Hodges, J.R (2 April 2003). "A study of stereotypic behaviours in Alzheimer’s disease and frontal and temporal variant frontotemporal dementia". Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry 74 (10): 1398–1402. doi:10.1136/jnnp.74.10.1398.
- Pagon RA, Adam MP, Bird TD, et al.. "GRN-Related Frontotemporal Dementia". GeneReviews. PMID 20301545.
- Pagon RA, Adam MP, Bird TD, et al.. "MAPT-Related Disorders including Frontotemporal Dementia with Parkinsonism-17 (FTDP-17)". GeneReviews. PMID 20301678.
- Australian FTD Association for Carers and medical services
- Watch the Planning for Hope: Living with Frontotemporal Disease documentary film on YouTube
- The Association for Frontotemporal Dementias
- The Association for Frontotemporal Degeneration
- The Bluefield Project to Cure Frontotemporal Dementia
- Columbia University Update
- A collection of articles about Frontotemporal dementia in the journal Neurology
- UCSF Memory and Aging Center
- UCSF Memory and Aging Center YouTube channel with films about FTD
- New York Times article 4/8/2008 suggesting that scientist Anne Adams and composer Maurice Ravel had frontotemporal dementia
- FRONTIER — Frontotemporal Dementia Research Group — at POWMRI, Sydney, Australia
- OMIM entry on FRONTOTEMPORAL DEMENTIA AND/OR AMYOTROPHIC LATERAL SCLEROSIS as well as C9ORF72
- Inside The Mind Of Frontotemporal Degeneration: A Patient's Story
- When Illness Makes a Spouse a Stranger
- The Other Side of Frontotemporal Degeneration: Inside A Deteriorating Brain
- Experts: Senator's form of dementia usually forces people off jobs