The social and economic burden of frontotemporal degeneration

Neurology. 2017 Nov 14;89(20):2049-2056. doi: 10.1212/WNL.0000000000004614. Epub 2017 Oct 4.


Objective: To quantify the socioeconomic burden of frontotemporal degeneration (FTD) compared to previously published data for Alzheimer disease (AD).

Methods: A 250-item internet survey was administered to primary caregivers of patients with behavioral-variant FTD (bvFTD), primary progressive aphasia, FTD with motor neuron disease, corticobasal syndrome, or progressive supranuclear palsy. The survey included validated scales for disease staging, behavior, activities of daily living, caregiver burden, and health economics, as well as investigator-designed questions to capture patient and caregiver experience with FTD.

Results: The entire survey was completed by 674 of 956 respondents (70.5%). Direct costs (2016 US dollars) equaled $47,916 and indirect costs $71,737, for a total annual per-patient cost of $119,654, nearly 2 times higher than reported costs for AD. Patients ≥65 years of age, with later stages of disease, and with bvFTD correlated with higher direct costs, while patients <65 years of age and men were associated with higher indirect costs. An FTD diagnosis produced a mean decrease in household income from $75,000 to $99,000 12 months before diagnosis to $50,000 to $59,999 12 months after diagnosis, resulting from lost days of work and early departure from the workforce.

Conclusions: The economic burden of FTD is substantial. Counting productivity-related costs, per-patient costs for FTD appear to be greater than per-patient costs reported for AD. There is a need for biomarkers for accurate and timely diagnosis, effective treatments, and services to reduce this socioeconomic burden.

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aphasia, Primary Progressive / economics
  • Aphasia, Primary Progressive / nursing
  • Caregivers
  • Cost of Illness*
  • Female
  • Frontotemporal Dementia / economics*
  • Frontotemporal Dementia / nursing
  • Health Care Costs / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Motor Neuron Disease / economics
  • Motor Neuron Disease / nursing
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases / economics*
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases / nursing
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Sex Factors
  • Supranuclear Palsy, Progressive / economics
  • Supranuclear Palsy, Progressive / nursing