The early neuropsychological and behavioral characteristics of frontotemporal dementia

Neuropsychol Rev. 2008 Mar;18(1):91-102. doi: 10.1007/s11065-008-9056-z. Epub 2008 Feb 29.


Frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD) represent a constellation of disorders that may be overlooked or misdiagnosed, despite being fairly common presenile neurodegenerative diseases. Although the cognitive disorder can be difficult to document, particularly early in the dementia course, neuropsychological evaluation can assist in the diagnosis. Neuropsychologists are in an excellent position to draw from related disciplines like personality theory and social psychology to better assess the types of changes that characterize the prodromal and early phases of the disease. This review summarizes the current state of the field in the diagnosis of FTLD and discusses the emerging role of neuropsychology in elucidating the brain organization of complex processes including empathy, behavioral control and inhibition, reward systems, appetitive behaviors, emotional regulation, and goal-orientation. As this review underscores, frontotemporal dementia remains a powerful model for studying brain-behavior relationships.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Behavior / physiology*
  • Dementia / diagnosis
  • Dementia / etiology
  • Dementia / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Neuropsychological Tests*