Treatments For Frontotemporal Dementia
There’s currently no cure for frontotemporal dementia or any treatment that will slow it down.
But there are treatments that can help control some of the symptoms, possibly for several years.
- medicines to control some of the behavioural problems
- therapies such as physiotherapy, occupational therapy, and speech and language therapy for problems with movement, everyday tasks and communication
- dementia activities such as memory cafes, which are drop-in sessions for people with memory problems and their carers to get support and advice
- support groups who can offer tips on managing symptoms from dementia experts and people living with frontotemporal dementia, and their families
What Does Lewy Body Dementia Look Like
Lewy body dementia affects a persons ability to think and process information and it can negatively impact memory and alter personality. Though it shares aspects of other forms of dementia, there are distinct hallmarks of LBD. Lewy body dementia symptoms include:
- Fluctuating attention/alertness: These shifts can last hours or go on for days. The person may stare into space, appear lethargic or drowsy, and have hard-to-understand speech, appearing a lot like delirium. At other times, the person may have much more clarity of thought.
- Visual hallucinations: Often, these are very detailed hallucinations and visions of people or animals, and they can recur.
- Movement disorders: Parkinsons-like movement issues, such as muscle rigidity, tremors, falls, or a shuffling gait or way of walking, may occur.
Neuropsychological And Behavioural Assessment
All patients were assessed at least twice and, where possible, followed up annually. All data were included until the point of drop out. The outcome variables were obtained approximately annually. The ACE was used to assess general cognition, with the total score /100. Recently, the ACE-revised has been updated . Because the two versions are largely equivalent, we analysed either the ACE-revised score or the ACE-III score, to maximize the available data. We analysed both the total score, as a measure of general cognitive ability, as well as performance on the five subtests embedded within the ACE tapping into specific cognitive domains . In addition, we examined language function with the Sydney Language Battery , focusing on the Naming, Comprehension and Semantic Association subtests. Finally, we used the copy of the Rey Complex Figure to examine visuospatial ability.
Behavioural change was assessed using the Cambridge Behavioural Inventory-Revised informant questionnaire . This questionnaire assesses 10 domains of behaviour . For each item the informant reports how frequent the behaviour is on a 5-point scale from never to constantly . Here, we focused on the subscales relevant to social function: abnormal behaviour , motivation , and stereotypical behaviour .
Also Check: What Does Fluoride Do To The Human Brain
What Is Alcoholic Dementia
Alcoholic dementia involves memory loss and a variety of other cognitive impairments.
Both short- and long-term memory is affected by alcoholic dementia. This means its challenging to learn new information and remember things already learned.
Along with memory issues, there are a host of other cognitive issues.
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders is the official handbook used by the American Psychiatric Association.
According to the DSM-V, a person with alcoholic dementia may exhibit memory impairment and one or more of these cognitive impairments1:
- Aphasia Loss of ability to use or understand spoken or written language
- Inability to perform specific physical actions despite will and knowledge to do so and relevant muscles being intact
- Agnosia Failure to recognize individuals, objects, or sounds, despite senses being functional
- Executive Functioning Deficits Impaired ability to plan, organize, or think abstractly
Aphasia seems to be less common with alcoholic dementia compared to other dementias.9
What Difficulties Do People With Dementia Have
Dementia often starts with short-term memory loss but it can also affect the way that people think, speak and do things. People with dementia can become confused, find it difficult to communicate, as they can’t remember the words that they want, and can have difficulties planning.
Dementia also affects people’s moods and motivations. This can happen if the disease affects that part of the brain that controls emotions, but even if this does not happen, people with dementia can feel sad, frightened, frustrated or angry about what is happening to them.
However, with a helping hand, people living with dementia can still enjoy their hobbies, have good relationships with partners and friends and live independently for longer.
Get In Touch
Don’t Miss: Enlarged Blood Vessel In Brain Symptoms
Symptoms Of Frontotemporal Dementia
Signs of frontotemporal dementia can include:
- personality and behaviour changes acting inappropriately or impulsively, appearing selfish or unsympathetic, neglecting personal hygiene, overeating, or loss of motivation
- language problems speaking slowly, struggling to make the right sounds when saying a word, getting words in the wrong order, or using words incorrectly
- problems with mental abilities getting distracted easily, struggling with planning and organisation
- memory problems these only tend to occur later on, unlike more common forms of dementia, such as Alzheimer’s disease
There may also be physical problems, such as slow or stiff movements, loss of bladder or bowel control , muscle weakness or difficulty swallowing.
These problems can make daily activities increasingly difficult, and the person may eventually be unable to look after themselves.
Read more about the symptoms of frontotemporal dementia.
What Are The Symptoms Of Dementia
Early symptoms of dementia include :
- Forgetting recent events or information
- Repeating comments or questions over a very short period of time
- Misplacing commonly used items or placing them in usual spots
- Not knowing the date or time
- Having difficulty coming up with the right words
- Experiencing a change in mood, behavior or interests
Signs that dementia is getting worse include:
- Ability to remember and make decisions further declines
- Talking and finding the right words becomes more difficult
- Daily complex tasks, such as brushing teeth, making a cup of coffee, working a tv remote, cooking, and paying bills become more challenging
- Rational thinking and behavior and ability to problem solve lessen
- Sleeping pattern change
- Anxiety, frustration, confusion, agitation, suspiciousness, sadness and/or depression increase
- More help with activities of daily living grooming, toileting, bathing, eating is needed
- Hallucinations may develop
The symptoms mentioned above are general symptoms of dementia. Each person diagnosed with dementia has different symptoms, depending on what area of the brain is damaged. Additional symptoms and/or unique symptoms occur with specific types of dementia.
Don’t Miss: Medical Term For Brain Bleed
How Is Dementia Diagnosed
Confirming the diagnosis of dementia can be difficult due to the many diseases and conditions that cause it as well as because its symptoms are common to many other illnesses. However, doctors are able to make the diagnosis based on the results of personal medical history, review of current symptoms, neurological and cognitive tests, laboratory tests, imaging tests and by interacting with the patient.
Current general symptoms that would indicate dementia are, by definition, a decline in such mental functions as memory, thinking, reasoning, personality, mood or behavior that are severe enough to interfere with the ability to accomplish everyday tasks. Patients undergo mental function testing to identify problems in these areas. Interviews with family members and/or close friends who may have noticed changes in these areas are helpful as well.
Laboratory tests rule out other diseases and conditions as the cause of dementia, such as thyroid problems and vitamin B12 deficiency. Similarly, brain scans can look for signs of a stroke or tumor that may be the source of the dementia. A PET scan can determine if amyloid proteins are present in the brain, a marker for Alzheimers disease.
Oftentimes, neurologists and geriatricians assist in making the diagnosis.
The Role Of Inflammation
Inflammation has long been thought to be a side effect of dementias such as Alzheimers, as the body ramps up its immune system in response to the disease. But recent research has confirmed that inflammation actually contributes to the disease process. One clue was a report that people treated with anti-inflammatory drugs for arthritis had a lower incidence of Alzheimers. This has now been backed up by large genetic studies.
Normally, the brains inflammatory cells help to prevent damaging build-up of amyloid-ß by clearing it away, and its thought that mutations in inflammatory genes hamper this process. Inflammation is a sign of the immune system kicking into gear, and in the initial stages of disease, this is beneficial. However, in the case of Alzheimers, when the disease becomes more advanced, chronic inflammation can set in and add to the toxic insult the brain receives. The brains immune response to inflammation is therefore believed to play two critical roles in developing Alzheimers disease.
Recommended Reading: Mike Tyson Brain Damage
Dementia And Emotional Responses
Dementia is a group of symptoms pointing to deterioration of parts of the brain that interferes with the way the person processes his or her environment. But while cognition and other functions may decline, the brains amygdala is often intact to the end of life. With the emotional center still open for business, the person experiences feelings. Some are positive , and others are negative .
Traditionally, the amygdala has been primarily associated with humans fight-or-flight response. It is an automatic, ingrained survival response to particular stimuli, and its something all humans experience. Under these current stresses related to the pandemic, some of us are irritable or angry and take these feelings out on others. Or, reactions fall under the flight category, manifesting in such ways as depression, lethargy, and social retreat.
But for a person living with dementia, deterioration in other parts of the braini.e., the frontal lobe, the temporal lobes, the hippocampusgreatly impacts or inhibits processing information.
Unfortunately, our society lacks understanding that these behaviors are influenced by circumstances of day-to-day living. Undesired behaviors can be avoided or reduced when the care provided addresses the persons preferences and wishes. At Hope, we call this person-centered care.
Tests For Vascular Dementia
There’s no single test for vascular dementia.
The tests that are needed to make a diagnosis include:
- an assessment of symptoms for example, whether these are typical symptoms of vascular dementia
- a full medical history, including asking about a history of conditions related to vascular dementia, such as strokes or high blood pressure
- an assessment of mental abilities this will usually involve several tasks and questions
- a brain scan, such as an MRI scan or CT scan, to look for any changes that have happened in your brain
Find out more about the tests used to diagnose dementia.
Read Also: Ischemia And Hemorrhage Kill Neurons By
Outlook For Vascular Dementia
Vascular dementia will usually get worse over time. This can happen in sudden steps, with periods in between where the symptoms do not change much, but it’s difficult to predict when this will happen.
Although treatment can help, vascular dementia can significantly shorten life expectancy.
But this is highly variable, and many people live for several years with the condition, or die from some other cause.
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with dementia, remember that you’re not alone. The NHS and social services, as well as voluntary organisations, can provide advice and support for you and your family.
Are There Medicines To Treat Dementia
There is no cure for dementia yet, but there are medicines that can help treat some of the symptoms of dementia. There are medications that may improve memory for a period of time. There are also medications that are effective for treating mood disorders, such as anxiety and depression, which commonly occur in people with dementia. It is also important that your provider carefully evaluates any medicine someone with dementia is taking, because some medications may make memory symptoms worse.
Read Also: What Happened To Jfk Brain
Is Alcoholic Dementia Treatable What Are The Options
The best treatment for alcoholic dementia is total abstinence. If the person is still addicted to alcohol, treatment for the addiction is the first step, and many forms of help are available.
Alcohol addiction treatment begins with detoxification . A variety of sedative drugs can help manage alcohol withdrawal symptoms. Medications used to treat alcohol addiction include:
Loss Of Neuronal Connections And Cell Death
In Alzheimers disease, as neurons are injured and die throughout the brain, connections between networks of neurons may break down, and many brain regions begin to shrink. By the final stages of Alzheimers, this processcalled brain atrophyis widespread, causing significant loss of brain volume.
Learn more about Alzheimer’s disease from MedlinePlus.
Causes Of Alzheimer’s Disease
Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of dementia.
Alzheimer’s disease is thought to be caused by the abnormal build-up of 2 proteins called amyloid and tau.
Deposits of amyloid, called plaques, build up around brain cells. Deposits of tau form “tangles” within brain cells.
Researchers do not fully understand how amyloid and tau are involved in the loss of brain cells, but research into this is continuing.
As brain cells become affected in Alzheimer’s, there’s also a decrease in chemical messengers involved in sending messages, or signals, between brain cells.
Levels of 1 neurotransmitter, acetylcholine, are particularly low in the brains of people with Alzheimer’s disease.
Medicines like donepezil increase levels of acetylcholine, and improve brain function and symptoms.
These treatments are not a cure for Alzheimer’s disease, but they do help improve symptoms.
Read more about treatments for dementia.
The symptoms that people develop depend on the areas of the brain that have been damaged by the disease.
The hippocampus is often affected early on in Alzheimer’s disease. This area of the brain is responsible for laying down new memories. That’s why memory problems are one of the earliest symptoms in Alzheimer’s.
Unusual forms of Alzheimer’s disease can start with problems with vision or with language.
Read more about Alzheimer’s disease.
What Happens To The Brain In Alzheimer’s Disease
The healthy human brain contains tens of billions of neuronsspecialized cells that process and transmit information via electrical and chemical signals. They send messages between different parts of the brain, and from the brain to the muscles and organs of the body. Alzheimers disease disrupts this communication among neurons, resulting in loss of function and cell death.
Recommended Reading: Risk Factors For Intracranial Hemorrhage
How Do You Get A Dementia Patient To Talk
Caring for dementia patients requires skill, understanding and compassion. The way you say something is often more important than what you say. Its important for carers to understand that patients may be very stressed and frustrated by not being able to communicate.
Experienced carers of patients whose speech is affected by dementia are sensitive to their needs and listen actively. They encourage patients with smiles and gestures, ensure there are no distractions, and talk in a warm and calm voice. In addition, they talk about one thing at time and use simple language or pictures to get their message across. They refer to people by using their name, and the key thing is to show empathy and understanding.
Speech therapists are a key part of the multidisciplinary team providing care to speech-affected dementia patients. In addition, they help ensure awareness among home care workers, clinicians and others of the importance of improving communication outcomes for patients.
In the later stages of dementia, patients with communication problems often have trouble eating and drinking. Swallowing may be difficult and this where speech therapists need to work closely with clinicians to get the best outcomes.
Dementia And The Brain
Knowing more about the brain and how it can change can help to understand the symptoms of dementia. It can help a person with dementia to live well, or to support a person with dementia to live well.
These pages explain which areas of the brain are responsible for certain skills and abilities, and how these are affected by dementia. We explain how changes to the brain relate to changes a person may notice as the condition progresses.
This information is helpful for anyone who wants to find out more about how the brain is affected by dementia.
Also Check: What Is Bleeding On The Brain Called
Dementia: What Part Of The Brain Is Under Attack
Part 2 in our series on Dementia. Check out Part 1.
In the diagnosis list, dementia can be clearly stated or there may be other disorders highly linked to dementia, causing the resident to present with the same signs and symptoms. I want you to be able to recognize the types of dementia and the disorders linked to dementia so you can be adequately prepared to understand the residents needs and modify the treatment approach accordingly.
The Alzheimers Association recognizes these types of dementia:
- Alzheimers dementia: most common, 60-80% of known cases
- Vascular dementia: second most common, 10% of known cases
- Dementia with Lewy bodies
- Mixed dementia: commonly Alzheimers with Vascular dementia
- Frontotemporal dementia
Disproportionate Impact On Women
Globally, dementia has a disproportionate impact on women. Sixty-five percent of total deaths due to dementia are women, and disability-adjusted life years due to dementia are roughly 60% higher in women than in men. Additionally, women provide the majority of informal care for people living with dementia, accounting for 70% of carer hours.
Don’t Miss: Jfk Brain Lost
A Problem Called Amyloid
The main component of the hallmark plaques seen as lesions in the brains of Alzheimers patients is formed by a peptide called amyloid-ß . Certain neurons, particularly in the cortex and hippocampus, create amyloid-ß. Its function is not well understood, but it has a role in neurogenesis , memory, and the normal operation of message transfer betwen neurons. When too much is made, or too little cleared, clumps of amyloid-ß build up around and between neurons. As these plaques grow in size, they envelop and destroy the dendrites of neurons, interfering with their ability to communicate.