A group of psychological disorders that happen due to the loss of the progressive nerve cells in the region behind your ear (temporal lobes) or the area behind your forehead (frontal lobes of the brain) is called Frontotemporal degeneration or frontotemporal dementia (FTD). It causes mild to severe issues concerning language and behaviour.
Dementia is a psychological disorder that gradually damages your brain. Although dementia is a disorder mostly experienced by people over the age of 65, this kind of dementia can affect people of the younger generation, mainly between the ages of 45 and 65.
There are several medical conditions that can result in frontotemporal dementia. A few prominent ones include a group of psychological disorders with the protein known as TDP43 and a group of brain issues with protein tau.
In 1892, an MD physician named Arnold Pick identified and described a patient with the symptoms of this disorder for the first time. That's why frontotemporal dementia also used to be called "Pick's disease". Other medical terminologies used by medical experts to describe this medical condition include frontotemporal degenerations, frontotemporal disorders and frontal lobe disorders.
Symptoms and indications of frontotemporal dementia vary from patient to patient, depending upon the age, the extent of the disease and several other factors. However, the types of symptoms are as follows:
A few of the behavioural issues experienced by frontotemporal dementia patients are:
- Lack of interest in things that you used to be quite fond of, also known as apathy
- Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD) such as the need to tap constantly or the need to check the door at night one too many times
- Social, behavioural issues
- Having no empathy for a loved one going through something tragic
- Having no self-consciousness about any aspect of your life
- Drastic changes in dietary habits, like developing a fondness for sweets and excess carbohydrates, overeating, etc.
- Dwindled personal cleanliness.
- Speech And Language Issues:
Frontotemporal dementia in certain cases may lead to language issues or lack of ability to speak properly. Semantic dementia, primary progressive aphasia, progressive nonfluent aphasia, etc., are all different types of frontotemporal degenerations. A few of the speech and language-related issues caused by this medical condition include:
- Having issues remembering the specific names of certain things and trying to substitute them with words like "it".
- Having hesitation giving speeches, making them seem like scripted.
- Having difficulty reading and understanding written and spoken English, not having the right words for certain things or phrases.
- Having no idea what certain words mean.
- Can't structure the sentences properly.
In certain cases of frontotemporal dementia, the patients experience issues with movements. These issues resemble the symptoms of ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis) Parkinson's disease.
- Poor hand-eye coordination
- Frail muscles
- Muscle twitches
- Difficulty gulping
If you or someone around you experience any of these symptoms, an urgent doctor consultation would be the way forward. However, waiting too long might result in other medical complications.
Frontotemporal Dementia (FTD) happens due to the loss of the progressive nerve cells in the region behind your ear (temporal lobes) or the area behind your forehead (frontal lobes of the brain). As mentioned earlier, FTD can induce irregularities in behaviour, movement, speech, language, etc.
FTD is considered the most common frequent reason for dementia and mainly affects people between the ages of 40 and 65. There is no gender quotient when it comes to FTD, as men and women have both equal chances of having this medical condition.
There are two common types of frontotemporal dementia (FTD):
- Primary Progressive Aphasia: Aphasia is a medical terminology that means not being able to communicate properly and has two basic types:
- Semantic dementia: It affects the ability to understand language for writing.
- Progressive Nonfluent Aphasia: It influences your ability to speak properly.
- Frontal Variant: It usually results in behavioural changes and personality issues.
In less common cases, FTD causes the patient to experience movement issues like in the case of Parkinson's disease or ALS (Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis) or Lou Gehrig's disease.
FTD is a common cause for the shrinkage of the sides and frontal lobes of the brain. Also, it results in the accumulation of a few particular substances in the brain. But the definite cause of this medical condition and its symptoms is unknown to the experts.
Genetics are believed to be one of the aggressors connected to the FTD. So if you have someone who suffers from this medical condition, it increases your risk of having it in the future. But other than genetics, there is no definite risk factor related to FTD.
In the case of every medical condition (especially for psychological issues), the diagnosis usually starts at home. Your family members will be the first to notice any symptoms like behavioural changes, movement issues, speech problems, etc.
If you do notice any changes, you might want to go to the doctor for a physical consultation. It would include discussion about:
- What symptoms are experienced by the patient, and how often do they experience them?
- Genetic history: If any family member has suffered from FTD.
- The prior medical condition you are suffering from.
- Any medications you are taking, including the OTC drugs, vitamin and protein supplements.
A single pathology test won't be able to diagnose frontotemporal dementia. That's why the doctor prescribes blood tests along with other diagnostic techniques to rule out the other possible conditions. In suspicion of dementia, the doctor assesses the reflexes, muscle tone, hand-eye coordination, muscle strength, sensitivity to light, etc. After that, the psychological evaluation (including language and speech issues, memory, aptitude, etc.) is conducted.
After that, imaging tests like computer tomography scans and magnetic resonance imaging tests are prescribed for a better diagnosis.
Here are a few diagnostic techniques used by the doctor:
- Blood Test: Undergoing blood tests will help the doctors rule out any possibility of having kidney or liver problems.
- Sleep Study: Going through a sleep study helps the doctor determine if the symptoms are due to FTD or sleep apnea.
- Imaging Scans: Imaging scans like CT scans, MRIs and Fluorodeoxyglucose PET scans. In FDG PET, a radioactive tracer is injected into your blood that helps scan the brain areas with poor metabolism. It allows the doctor to determine the type of FTD.
If you experience the symptoms of FTD, consult with the doctor at the earliest. It will help rule out any other medical conditions and provide the most appropriate treatment for the same.
Homeopathy is an alternative medical science that helps treat an illness with the help of natural remedies. The homeopathic practitioners provide the treatment and medications individually based on a particular patient. It is considered to be safe and risk-free as the ingredients used in these remedies are natural. Although FTD is deemed to be non-reversible, homeopathic remedies can help slow down the progress of this medical condition. These medications can provide you with relief in case of memory issues, along with the enhancement of concentration. They can be used as stand-alone medications or complementary ones for several symptoms of FTD. The higher dilution for the homeopathic medicines ensures a higher efficacy.
Along with the homeopathic medications and treatments, the doctors advise you to follow a few particular instructions. They are listed below:
- Keep your diet nutritional
- Maintain your personal hygiene
- Do not put yourself through overexertion
- Adjust the room temperature according to your preference to maintain the optimum body temperature
- Avoid using perfumed or scented liquids too much
- Perform exercise and work out in open spaces
- Don't stay up late at night
- Steer clear of consuming too much tea, coffee and other beverages with caffeine content
If you are looking to find more about Frontotemporal Dementia and its treatment, consult with a doctor at the earliest, as they will be able to provide you with appropriate treatment and prevent any further complications.