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Frontotemporal Dementias

Dementia is a clinical state characterized by loss of function in multiple cognitive domains. It is a costly disease in terms of both personal suffering and economic loss. Frontotemporal dementia (FTD) is the term now preferred over Picks disease to describe the spectrum of non-Alzheimers dementias characterized by focal atrophy of the frontal and anterior temporal regions of the brain. The prevalence of FTD is considerable, though specific figures vary among different studies. It occurs usually in an age range of 35-75 and it is more common in individuals with a positive family history of dementia. The risk factors associated with this disorder include head injury and family history of FTD. Although there is some controversy regarding the further syndromatic subdivision of the different types of FTD, the three major clinical presentations of FTD include: 1) a frontal or behavioral variant (FvFTD), 2) a temporal, aphasic variant, also called Semantic dementia (SD), and 3) a progressive aphasia (PA). These different variants differ in their clinical presentation, cognitive deficits, and affected brain regions. Patients with FTD should have a neuropsychiatric assessment, neuropsychological testing and neuroimaging studies to confirm and clarify the diagnosis. Treatment for this entity consists of behavioral and pharmacological approaches. Medications such as serotonin reuptake inhibitors, antipsychotics, mood stabilizer and other novel treatments have been used in FTD with different rates of success. Further research should be directed at understanding and developing new diagnostic and therapeutic modalities to improve the patients' prognosis and quality of life. Proceeds from the sale of this book go to the support of an elderly disabled person.
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