Dementia is a mental disorder caused by gradual changes and damages in the brain. Dementia is also called senile. Dementia occurs mostly in people over 65 years of age.
Frontotemporal dementia is a rare type of dementia. Frontotemporal dementia is caused by the presence of the front and side brain disorders (frontal and temporal lobes). Frontotemporal dementia can cause problems with behavior and language.
Although in general, dementia occurs in people over 65 years old, frontotemporal dementia tends to start at a younger age. Most cases of frontotemporal dementia occur in people aged 45-65 years, although these conditions may also occur in younger or older people.
Like other types of dementia, frontotemporal dementia tends to develop slowly and gradually become worse for several years.
Frontotemporal Dementia / Pick’s disease definition
Pick disease is a type of dementia similar to Alzheimer’s disease, but is less common. This disease affects the part of the brain that controls emotions, behaviors, personalities, and languages. Pick disease is also known as frontotemporal dementia (FTD) or frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD).
Our brains use a transport system to distribute the nutrients it needs. This transportation system is made from proteins that direct nutrients to certain locations. The proteins that keep this pathway are called the tau proteins.
If you suffer from a Pick disease, the performance of the tau protein will be impaired. You will also probably have more tau proteins in your brain than others. These protein clumps know is called Pick bodies and it will damage the transport system pathways in your brain, so the nutrients in the brain cannot get to the places it should be. This can cause irreversible brain damage.
FTD Frontotemporal Dementia Causes
The frontotemporal dementia is caused by the buildup of abnormal proteins in the brain.
Abnormal proteins accumulate and become toxic to brain cells, causing them to die. The frontal and temporal lobes of the brain are usually most affected and as cells disappear, the area of the brain shrinks over time.
This is not fully understood why protein is abnormal build up, but there is often a genetic cause. About a third to half of the case of the frontotemporal dementia was inherited and run in the family.
Frontotemporal Dementia Symptoms
The characteristics and symptoms of Pick disease / FTD Frontotemporal Dementia are:
- Suddenly being aggressive and fierce
- Not interested in daily activities
- Rapidly and drastically changing mood swings
- Hard to feel sympathy
- Doesn’t care about others
- Hard to do unplanned things first
- Make a decision without long thought
- Repeating an activity
- Doing or saying inappropriate things.
Some Pick sufferers will feel hungry at all times, and some of them crave sweet foods so they will consume sugar and sweetened foods excessively.
At the beginning of the disease, language disorder usually appears. The emergence of Pick bodies in the part of the brain that regulates speech can pose problems such as:
- Difficulty remembering common object names
- Difficulty drawing by tracing the shape of an object
- Difficulty understanding written words
- Difficulty speaking.
Sometimes, people with Pick disease also show the following symptoms:
- Memory loss
- Difficulty in moving
- Limp or stiff muscles
- Difficult urination
- Coordinating motion is interrupted
There may be symptoms not mentioned above. Consult a doctor for information on other symptoms.
Learn more about Signs of dementia
How is frontotemporal dementia diagnosed?
If your GP thinks you may have dementia, you may be referred to a memory clinic or other specialist clinics, where you will be asked about your symptoms and have a physical examination, a memory test and a cognitive test. You may also have blood tests and brain scans.
Frontotemporal Dementia Treatment
Until now there has been no way to overcome Pick disease, because Pick disease generally develops slowly and deteriorates over time. Treatment recommendations and treatments provided are generally to help address symptoms that may occur.
In addition, doctors may only advise for behavioral therapy that can help control harmful behaviors and also administering antidepressants to aid agitation or aggression.