Frontotemporal dementia classification and neuropsychiatry

Neurologist. 2002 Jul;8(4):263-9. doi: 10.1097/00127893-200207000-00006.


Background: Frontotemporal dementia (FTD) is a syndrome encompassing the clinical expression of frontal or temporal lobe degeneration. The many clinical phenotypes of FTD include primary progressive aphasias and a more common frontotemporal degeneration with less marked language alteration but significant behavioral changes.

Summary: This paper describes the clinical progression of neuropsychiatric symptoms among 62 predominantly behavioral presentations and 30 language presentations of FTD. Disinhibition and depression became common for both subject groups over the course of illness. Significantly more cases presenting with behavioral changes had apathy and disinhibition.

Conclusions: Language presentations of FTD had longer latency to onset of distinct neuropsychiatric changes but eventually converge with the phenotype initially affected with behavioral change. Clinicians should anticipate such neuropsychiatric changes, prepare families for the course of illness in patients with either clinical presentation,treat symptomatically with psychotropic medications to help families cope with behaviorally disturbed patients.