Frontotemporal Dementia (FTD)

What Is FTD?

Frontotemporal dementia (FTD) sometimes is called frontal lobe dementia. It affects the parts of the brain behind the forehead and causes behavior changes, difficulties with language or an inability to understand words or recognize familiar faces and objects. Unlike Alzheimer’s disease, frontotemporal dementia typically does not affect memory or orientation to the same degree. Instead, the most notable symptoms may be changes in behavior or personality, and difficulty with speech and language.

Frontotemporal dementia may run in families and often develops at a younger age — 50s and 60s — than other forms of dementia.

The board-certified and fellowship-trained specialists at Norton Neuroscience Institute Memory Center are at the leading edge of advances in caring for those with frontotemporal dementia.

More patients in Louisville and Southern Indiana trust Norton Neuroscience Institute with their neurological care than any other provider in the area. Patients find a comprehensive range of board-certified specialists who provide a diversity of viewpoints to develop a customized care plan for each patient.

Frontotemporal Dementia Symptoms

The behavioral variant of frontotemporal dementia results in marked changes in behavior and personality and can be misdiagnosed as a psychiatric issue such as depression or obsessive-compulsive disorder. Or, the affected person can be seen as being selfish, rude or inappropriate. Behavior changes can be impulsive or apathetic. About half the frontotemporal dementia cases are of the behavioral variety.

Other symptoms include:

  • Behavioral changes such as hypersexuality, overeating or passivity
  • A sudden lack of empathy or caring for family and friends
  • Changes in ability to care for self (lack of bathing, not doing laundry, etc.)

Other forms of frontotemporal dementia cause impairments in language. Language effects can include difficulty making or understanding speech. Also known as non-fluent primary progressive aphasia, this form of frontotemporal dementia results in the brain having difficulty controlling the muscles needed to form speech.

The semantic variant affects the patient’s ability to understand words and recognize familiar faces and objects.

The variety of frontotemporal dementia depends on which parts of the frontal or temporal lobes are shrinking.

Frontotemporal Dementia Prognosis

Frontotemporal dementia progresses steadily with significant deterioration in less than two years for some and more than 10 years in others.

Eventually some with frontotemporal dementia will need 24-hour care either at home or in a specialized setting.

There is no current cure or medicine for frontotemporal dementia. It progresses slowly, but it will worsen over time. Treatment for symptoms may include:

  • Behavioral or cognitive therapy
  • Antidepressant medicine to help with anxiety, aggression or agitation
  • Lifestyle adjustments

Norton Neuroscience Institute Resource Center others offer resources to help families and individuals coping with frontotemporal dementia.

Care That’s Focused on You

It’s part of Norton Neuroscience Institute’s goal to care for the whole person, not just the condition.

  • Norton Neuroscience Institute Resource Centers offer ways to improve your access to care, provide valuable information on managing your disease and address your quality of life issues. The Norton Healthcare Foundation funds this important service, so patients don’t need to pay.
  • Dedicated patient navigators provide assistance securing transportation to and from Norton Healthcare facilities, schedule follow-up appointments, coordinate prescription assistance, create customized diet plans and provide guidance on disability benefits, housing, financial and employment concerns and more.
  • Patients can access support groups, exercise classes and other educational events to connect with others and learn how to make the most of life while managing a neurological condition. 
  • Access an on-demand video library of educational content across a variety of condition related topics is available.
  • We want to help prevent illness. Get help quitting smoking and learn the signs of stroke.
  • Communicate with your provider, manage appointments, refill prescriptions and more anytime from a computer or mobile device with a free MyNortonChart account.

A Louisville Leader in Neurological Care

More patients from Louisville and Southern Indiana seek their neurology and neurosurgery care from Norton Neuroscience Institute’s nationally recognized specialists than any other providers in the area.

Your Norton Neuroscience Institute medical provider has the expertise, experience, diagnostic tools and sophisticated treatments to provide care tailored to your needs.

  • More than 75 medical, surgical and research specialists are dedicated to providing innovative care to those with brain, spine and nervous system conditions.
  • Advanced, minimally invasive neurosurgery equipment can speed your recovery and minimize pain.
  • Multidisciplinary clinics provide easy access to care in one convenient appointment for your neurological condition, with specialists in oncology, cardiology, orthopedics and behavioral health.
  • Norton Healthcare’s four adult service hospitals in Louisville are certified by DNV Healthcare, representing the highest level of stroke care.
    • Norton Brownsboro Hospital is recognized as a Comprehensive Stroke Center.
    • Norton Audubon Hospital and Norton Hospital are Primary Stroke Centers.
    • Norton Women’s & Children’s Hospital is an Acute Stroke Ready Hospital.
  • Norton Neuroscience Institute’s multiple sclerosis (MS) program has been designated a Center for Comprehensive MS Care by the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.
  • The National Association of Epilepsy Centers has recognized Norton Neuroscience Institute as a Level 4 Epilepsy Center, providing the highest level of medical and surgical evaluation and treatment for patients with complex epilepsy.
  • Norton Neuroscience Institute Resource Center navigators help educate patients and their families about new diagnoses, available treatments and ways to manage their disease.
  • We are listed by Becker’s Hospital Review as one of 100 great neurosurgery and spine programs.

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