What is Frontotemporal Disorder?

Frontotemporal Disorder

Frontotemporal Disorder (FTD) is an umbrella term for a bunch of brain disorders due to the damage of neurons in the brain’s frontal and temporal lobes and leading to dementia in the patient. This is generally associated with difficulty in thinking, personality, behavior, and language as the neurons die in these parts. This family of brain disease in the lobes is called FTLD or Frontotemporal Lobar Degeneration.

Usually, people with frontotemporal disorder (FTD) live for ten years, or some may live a few more years. It is tough to predict the lifetime of an individual patient with frontotemporal disorders. This is progressive means as time passes, it gets worse and worse. People may show a single symptom at first, then gradually, as time passes, other parts of the brain also get affected, and more severe symptoms develop in the person.


Frontotemporal disorder (FTD) can be broadly divided into:


It often occurs at the age of fifty or sixty, but some may develop at the early age of twenty also. It affects the prominent areas of the brain, which help in functioning judgment, empathy, and foresight.


This patient has problems with language, basic skills, speaking, and writing. It primarily develops at the age of around sixty-five. PPA is further divided into a semantic variant of PPA and an anagrammatic variant of PPA.


It is a disorder that leads to problems in the use of language. The patient can’t make sentences properly or make slow or hesitant broken sentences. 


The symptoms of frontotemporal; disorder (FTD) depends on which area of the brain is affected in an individual. One may slowly develop most of the symptoms. The symptoms of frontotemporal disorder (FTD) are divided into behavioral, language, and movement disorders.

Behavioral changes

In this disorder, the behavior and personality are more likely to affect. Here are some common problems that are counted as a symptom of the frontotemporal disease:

  • Inappropriate actions and social behavior.
  • Loss of apathy and lack of enthusiasm and interest in personal skills.
  • Loss of inhibition and restraint.
  • Lack of interest (apathy), which can be mistaken for depression
  • Compulsive behavior like frequently tapping, clapping, or smacking lips
  • Ignorance to personal hygiene.
  • Eating inedible objects or often put anything in the mouth.

Speech and language problems:

  • Difficulty in understanding  speech
  • Problems while speaking.
  • Deterioration in reading and writing skills.
  • Trouble naming things
  • Lack of knowledge of word meanings
  • Having hesitant speech 
  •  Basic common mistakes in sentence construction

Movement disorders

  • Tremor
  • Muscle spasms and weakness
  • Poor coordination
  • Difficulty in swallowing
  • Unexamined laughing or crying


There are a series of tests to diagnose frontotemporal disorder ( FTD). There is no single test to determine. Doctors check symptoms and signs and tests to diagnose frontotemporal disorder (FTD). Mostly it is difficult to diagnose the disorder at the early stages as most of the symptoms and signs get overlapped with other brain issues. Tests to determine are:

  1. Blood tests
  2. Sleep study
  3. Neuropsychological testing
  4. Brain scans

Causes and Risks

There are many causes of the disorder and risks involved. This disorder is inherited in about a third of all the cases. For now, only genetic testing and counseling are available for individuals with a family history of FTD (Frontotemporal Disorder). There are no risk factors involved for FTD (Frontotemporal Disorder) except for the family history of this disorder or any similar ones. 

Treatment and Outcomes

To date, there are no treatments available for Frontotemporal Disorder (FTD) but medication, can reduce agitation, irritability, or medicine. This treatment can be used to improve the quality of your life. Antidepressants can be used to enhance the behavior of patients. Antipsychotic drugs are also used to treat Frontotemporal disorder (FTD), but it can also cause side-effects which can aggravate the symptoms of the disorder. Speech and language therapy can also be beneficial at an early stage. Patients who are suffering from the disorder can learn non-verbal techniques. In some people, electronic and computer devices can also synthesize artificial voice and can replace speech. Genetic counseling is also of great help. 

Frontotemporal disorder (FTD) starts getting worse with time, but the speed of health decline differs from person to person. Some people suffering from this disorder may also need 24-hour care at living or nursing facilities. The disease course ranges typically from two to ten years. In many years we have noticed that people suffering from Frontotemporal Disorder (FTD) show muscle weakness and coordination problems which always led them to be bound to a bed or wheelchair. The muscle tissues can cause problems in swallowing, chewing, moving, and controlling the bladder. People suffering from this disorder usually die of physical changes that cause skin, urinary tract, or lung infections. 


There are minor differences between them which always confuses people: 

  1. Age at the time of diagnosis can be an essential clue. People who are diagnosed with FTD are almost in their 40s or 60s, but people who are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s are primarily people of old age. 


  1. Memory loss is common in both, but it is not an early sign of FTD. Advanced FTD causes memory loss, and people’s behavior and language also get affected. 


  1. Behavior changes occur in the early stages of FTD. It is also a symptom of Alzheimer’s, but it tends to happen later. 


  1. Getting lost in familiar places is common in Alzheimer’s and not in FTD.


  1. Hallucination and Delusions were shared in Alzheimer’s and not so common in FTD.


  1. The speech problem was seen in Alzheimer’s, but in them, people would always find it hard to remember the word or name. The sentences made by people who are suffering from Alzheimer’s makes sense, but when with people who are suffering FTD, it never makes sense. 


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