The frontotemporal dementia is one of the three syndromes caused by frontotemporal lobar degeneration, and the second most common cause of early – onset dementia after Alzheimer’s disease. It is caused by the degradation of the temporal lobe neurons, causing changes in the pathways that connect them and a loss of chemical messengers. Over time, the brain tissue of the frontal and temporal lobes shrinks.

Due to this brain damage, symptoms of frontotemporal dementia include personality and behavior changes, as well as language difficulties.


Frontotemporal dementia is the name of a group of progressive dementias that primarily affect the personality, behavior and speech of an individual. Diseases in this group include the following:

  • Pick’s disease
  • Frontotemporal lobe degeneration
  • Progressive aphasia (speech problems)
  • Semantic dementia (problems of understanding language)
  • Corticobasal degeneration (includes decreased mobility)

Unlike other forms of dementia, patients with frontotemporal dementia do not affect their memory until later stages of the disease. On the other hand, this form of dementia attacks people at a younger age: usually between the ages of 40 and 60.


The two main symptoms of frontotemporal dementia are personality changes and loss of the ability to express and understand language.

Personality changes

This disease affects the front and right side of the brain, which controls our judgment, personality and the ability to handle complex tasks. Individuals with this form of dementia may begin to behave inappropriately in public places or when they are with unknown people. Social skills such as touch and empathy can be lost. He / she may lose interest in everything, or suddenly you may need to be active all the time. Often people lose the ability to make safe and informed decisions about tasks, such as controlling their finances or driving the car. When behavioral problems are very obvious, this form of dementia may resemble depression, schizophrenia, or bipolar disorder.

Changes in speech / language

The disease also affects the way in which an individual can use and understand language.

  • Semantic dementia: Refers to the effect of the disease on the temporal lobes on both sides of the brain. This region of the brain controls how we understand and recognize words, faces and their meanings. A person with these symptoms has trouble communicating, using words correctly and understanding what others say.
  • Primary progressive aphasia: Refers to the effect of the disease on the left side of the brain. This region of the brain controls the way we can put words together and express meanings. Individuals have trouble finding and using the correct words to explain themselves.


Unfortunately, there is no known curative drug treatment for this disease. Medicines used in other dementias such as Alzheimer’s do not provide any therapeutic benefit to patients with frontotemporal dementia. Therefore, it may be necessary, according to the clinical evolution of each of the patients, to treat behavioral symptoms (for example, SSRIs for depression; atypical neuroleptics for aggressiveness, etc.).

On the other hand, new treatments have begun to be developed with new technologies, not only in their early detection, but also in their treatment by means of cognitive stimulation software, which improve the quality of life of patients. These programs usually have several levels of difficulty and their objective is to improve aspects such as attention, perception or reasoning. You will have the best option of this type of treatments at the Denken Center in Barcelona

Virtual reality allows the progressive immersion of the patient in virtual environments to achieve a rehabilitation not only neuropsychological but also motor. In addition, both this technology and the computer programs allow an evaluation of the patient’s progression.


by Abdullah Sam
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