What is Frontotemporal Lobar Degeneration: Causes, Symptoms, Stages, Treatment

What is Frontotemporal Lobar Degeneration?

The term frontotemporal lobar degeneration usually includes different kinds of dementia and involves various stages. The symptoms of frontotemporal lobar degeneration can be easily noted when the nerve cells of the temporal or the frontal lobes die. Frontotemporal lobar degeneration may also occur when some of the message transmitting cells dies. Because of this, they will shrink causing major problems.

Frontotemporal Lobar Degeneration

What is Frontal Lobe Syndrome?

Frontal lobe syndrome (FLS) is a syndrome caused due to the damage in the frontal lobe, which is the largest one present in human brain. FLS can be identified by the changes in the behavior, personality and likewise.

What are the Different Types of Frontotemporal Lobar Degeneration?

The frontotemporal lobar degeneration may differ by damaged areas present in either frontal or temporal lobe. There are three categories of nerve cell damages:

  • Behavioral frontotemporal dementia
  • Semantic dementia
  • Progressive nonfluent dementia.

In all these three types, the symptoms are not easy to see at first. It will take some time to show its true nature.

What is Behavioral Variant Frontotemporal Dementia (BVFTD)?

As already said, frontotemporal lobar degeneration is not just a single disorder which also includes different stages of dementias. Behavioral Variant Frontotemporal Dementia or BVFTD is the commonly seen frontotemporal dementia which affects most of the people in common. The changes occur in the personality, lack of empathy, and even the emotional changes of one individual who is suffering from this frontotemporal lobar degeneration.

Patients who have this dementia are witnessed facing lot of social crisis due to their behavior. Age does not matter when it comes to BVFTD. Youngsters from the age of 20 to the elders at the age of 80 can be expected to have this dementia. The BVFTD’s symptoms and effects may vary from one patient to another.

People with behavioral frontotemporal dementia face many problems due to the following symptoms.

  • Behaves inappropriate in public
  • Acts in a rude way, even to their loved ones
  • Losing their true nature and acting weird
  • Lose interest in almost everything
  • Lack of empathy and sympathy
  • Craving for food in an unusual manner.

These are the commonly seen symptoms of Behavioral Variant Frontotemporal Dementia or BVFTD which affect the patient in a bad way.

Causes of Frontotemporal Lobar Degeneration

After many numbers of researches, the cause of frontotemporal lobar degeneration is still a mystery, but there are some assumptions made. Abnormal growth of protein in the brain called Pick bodies is considered to be the cause, for frontotemporal lobar degeneration. There are many tests present like MRI, CT and so on to identify frontotemporal lobar degeneration.

Is Frontotemporal Lobar Degeneration Hereditary?

Is frontotemporal lobar degeneration hereditary? Not exactly. It is suspected to be genital when more than one of the family member is affected with frontotemporal lobar degeneration. But the reason why frontotemporal lobar degeneration is genital is still a mystery. 15-50% of frontotemporal lobar degeneration affected people have a history with frontotemporal lobar degeneration, and 60-80% of individuals are the first to face the frontotemporal lobar degeneration.

What are the Risk Factors of Frontotemporal Lobar Degeneration?

The one and the only common risk factor regarding frontotemporal lobar degeneration is the genetics. It is not entirely true that this frontotemporal lobar degeneration is genetic. But there are proofs which made this the primary risk factor. If your family member is identified having frontotemporal lobar degeneration, then you must be careful. As mentioned before it is not true in all cases.

Symptoms of Frontotemporal Lobar Degeneration

The symptoms of frontotemporal dementia differ with the affected areas of the lobes. But there are two different kinds of symptoms

  • Language Symptoms
  • Behavior Symptoms.

Commonly Seen Language Symptoms Of Frontotemporal Lobar Degeneration Are:

  • Problems with recalling the language
  • Losing writing and reading skills
  • Significant difficulties in interacting with people
  • Forgetting and challenges in understanding the language.

Commonly Seen Behavioral Symptoms Of Frontotemporal Lobar Degeneration Are:

  • Inappropriate behavior
  • Lack of sympathy
  • Usage of rash words even to their loved ones
  • Carve for food
  • Neglecting personal care
  • Being un-hygiene
  • Lack of interest in people.

Tests to Diagnose Frontotemporal Lobar Degeneration

It is possible to determine the frontotemporal lobar degeneration in a single test, but there are some diseases which have almost the same symptoms of frontotemporal lobar degeneration. There are tests to make sure whether the symptoms relate to frontotemporal lobar degeneration or not.

  • Blood Test:By doing a blood test, it is possible to identify whether there is any other possible cause for frontotemporal lobar degeneration.
  • MRI: By doing a magnetic resonance Imaging test, it is feasible to have a detailed view of your brain’s image and the doctors can understand the cause and diagnose frontotemporal lobar degeneration.
  • CT Scan: A CT scan is capable of bringing the images of your brain in layers. By doing this, it is easy to identify the disease quickly.

These three are the commonly used methods to know whether there are any symptoms of frontotemporal lobar degeneration.

What are the Seven Stages of Frontotemporal Lobar Degeneration?

Unfortunately, in most of the cases, frontotemporal lobar degeneration is not curable and irreversible. Diagnosing at an early stage helps in managing and slowing down the frontotemporal lobar degeneration. There are seven different stages of frontotemporal lobar degeneration. By knowing them in a detailed manner, you will be able to differentiate every stage of frontotemporal lobar degeneration.

  1. Minor Problems with Memory

    Stage 1 of frontotemporal lobar degeneration does not have major problems like memory loss and so on. It is just the first stage which has some minor issues, and thus the stage is known as the pre-dementia stage.

  2. Memory Impairment with Ages

    In this juncture, the frequent memories which the patient has to get lapsed like,

    • Not remembering the names which they are familiar with
    • Forgetting the places of his objects.
  3. Mild to Moderate Impairments

    In this stage of frontotemporal lobar degeneration, the problems get a little worse than the previous two stages.

    • Forgetting the place where they live
    • Laziness
    • Forgetting all the names
    • Difficulty in reading and retaining
    • Misplacing things
    • Lack of concentration.

    These are the common symptoms in stage three of frontotemporal lobar degeneration.

  4. Changes in One’s Activities

    In this condition people with frontotemporal lobar degeneration becomes slow, and they will start facing social problems. They will have significant changes in their personality and even in their mood.

    • Difficulty in remembering things about themselves
    • Problem in organizing things
    • Forgetting about recent events.
  5. Inability

    The 5th stage of frontotemporal lobar degeneration is a bit crucial than the previous stages. Failure to remember even the basic things is the worst part of this condition. But they might still have the ability to remember their name and their close blood relations.

  6. Moderately Severe Stage of Frontotemporal Lobar Degeneration

    In this, they will start forgetting about their spouse, parents, and even their children. They must be taken care with full attention. They will be unaware, and they cannot even remember their whereabouts.

    • Aggression
    • Obsession
    • Lack of will power
  7. Severe Frontotemporal Lobar Degeneration

    The people in severe frontotemporal lobar degeneration will have lost even the motor skills. They will slowly lose speech, and this is the final and severe stage of frontotemporal lobar degeneration. They will not be able to walk or eat. Treatment will not be enough to delay the effects of severe dementia. Love and care are what they need at their final stage.

Treatment for Frontotemporal Lobar Degeneration

It is a known fact that frontotemporal lobar degeneration is un-curable. There are treatments present which is capable of delaying the problems and the severe stages as much as possible.

There are some treatments to delay the behavioral problems. Antipsychotic medicine is the best treatment of frontotemporal lobar degeneration.

Can lifestyle Changes Help in Treating Frontotemporal Lobar Degeneration?

Not just medications, even the lifestyle changes can assist in managing frontotemporal lobar degeneration. Helping the affected one to have comfortable surroundings and a peaceful environment will be the best way to slow down frontotemporal lobar degeneration. Try to keep them in the noiseless surrounding.

Home Remedies for Frontotemporal Lobar Degeneration

There are not much of natural home remedies present for the frontotemporal lobar degeneration patient, but there are some. Intake of more Vitamin E, Vitamin C, and Vitamin B will support the health of the brain which will help in some way at least to slow down the ill effects of frontotemporal lobar degeneration.

How to Prevent One from Frontotemporal Lobar Degeneration?

Nothing is in our hands when it comes to preventing frontotemporal lobar degeneration. All we could do is to check and know whether there is any medical history related to frontotemporal lobar degeneration and if there is then consult with the doctors and get to know about it and do the needful things when it is not too late.

It is not possible to cure frontotemporal lobar degeneration completely but by knowing the right stage where the patient is and by knowing the condition the life span of the affected one can increase a bit.

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:February 22, 2018

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