What does brain atrophy mean

Frontotemporal dementia

Frontotemporal dementia (FTD) is a disease in which nerve cells die off, especially in the forehead and temples (= frontal and temporal lobes) of the brain. From here, emotions and social behavior, among other things, are controlled.

Frontotemporal dementias usually start earlier than Alzheimer's disease, on average between the ages of 50 and 60. The youngest patients become ill in their third decade of life, but some patients do not become ill until they are older.

Almost all patients notice changes in personality and interpersonal behavior at the onset of the disease. These include in particular indifference but also irritability, tactlessness and disinhibition. In some patients, pronounced language disorders appear, especially in terms of word-finding disorders and naming disorders. In the further course of the FTD, the memory is impaired, but for a long time this is usually not as pronounced as in Alzheimer's disease.

Diagnosing frontotemporal dementia can be difficult. Because changes in personality and behavior are in the foreground at the beginning of the illness, it is not uncommon for people to be confused with mental disorders such as depression, burnout syndrome, schizophrenia or mania.

As a rule, those affected show little insight into the disease or motivation for therapy.
Because the processes that lead to nerve cell death are largely unknown and cannot be influenced, there are no targeted therapy options so far. The drug treatment is currently aimed at alleviating the behavioral problems of the patients.

Living together with a patient who suffers from frontotemporal dementia is an enormous burden for the relatives. Above all, it is the behavioral problems, especially aggression, uninhibited behavior and unpredictability of the patients, which bother the relatives.

Prof. Dr. Janine Diehl-Schmid, Munich

Relatives groups and internet forum

So far there has been little information on FTD. The exchange with others is all the more important for relatives of people with FTD. For example, groups of relatives or the protected Internet forum of the DAlzG come into question. To the relatives groups

Nationwide exchange of experiences for relatives

In many regions there are currently no FTD members' groups. That is why there is an annual nationwide exchange of experiences at different locations. More about the nationwide exchange of experiences

Symposia

Specialist conferences on FTD are usually aimed at both relatives and specialists from the fields of medicine, counseling and care. Here you will find specialist conferences and seminars on FTD, which are organized by the DAlzG as well as by others. The DAlzG makes the documentation of its symposium available to all interested parties. More about the specialist conferences

Information materials and links

Unfortunately, information on FTD can often only be found in specialist medical books. The DAlzG has therefore created some information material itself. To the information material and links