Misunderstood and often misdiagnosed, Frontotemporal Dementia is very different than other forms of dementia, including Alzheimer’s.

On May, 5 2012 the New York Times ran an article titled “When Illness Makes a Spouse a Stranger” that documents the difficulty in understanding and treating a type of dementia known as frontotemporal dementia. Though it has been recognized for over 100 years it is little known and sometimes misdiagnosed. The disease progresses faster than other types of dementia and patients survive only 8 years on average. It typically attacks younger people and the symptoms are different from other type’s dementia. Instead of memory damage the first symptoms include silence, withdrawal, apathy and dramatic changes in behavior. For a more comprehensive list of symptoms see the U.S. National Library of Medicine description of frontotemporal dementia.

Frontotemporal dementia refers to a group of diseases that destroy nerve centers in the frontal and temporal lobe. It is estimated the disease afflicts at least 50-60,000 people in the United States. There is little in the way of treatment the disease, however many believe that treatments or cures are not too far in the offing.

This mini documentary shows the personal side of the disease takes. This video is from the New York Times.

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