Fronto-temporal dementia

A less common cause of dementia, and one that often affects people in younger age groups. It includes a range of conditions in which there is damage is to the front and sides of the brain and affects personality, emotions, decision-making, speech and language. It used to be known as Pick’s disease

Symptoms can include:

  •     Personality changes, such as loss of inhibition, apathy or inappropriate behaviour of which the person is often unaware
  •     Loss of emotional warmth and empathy for others
  •     Decline in language abilities – including difficulty getting words out or problems with understanding words and names
  •     Overeating or changes in dietary preference, particularly cravings for sweet food
  •     Changes in sexual behaviour
  •     Memory problems. Although day to day memory remains intact in the early stages, communication difficulties mean
        the problems seem more severe  

Treatment

Alzheimer’s drugs such as Aricept are not normally prescribed and can may occasionally make symptoms worse. Speech therapists may be helpful for language problems.

Knowing more about the disease and understanding that it it this which is the cause of behaviour changes, can help the person and those around them to cope with the disease.  Coping strategies include avoiding confrontation and working round obsessions rather than trying to change the person's behaviour.