10% of all cases of dementia
are classed as frontotemporal dementia. This illness tends
to strike when people are in their fifties. It frequently
runs in families, and like Alzheimer's
disease, there is a gene which is linked to these cases.
But, also like Alzheimer's, the underlying causes of the disease
are unknown and there is no cure.
Whereas Alzheimer's disease typically strikes
first at the memory centers in hippocampus
and nearby structures, frontotemporal dementia destroys brains
in the frontal
lobes of the brain, which are responsible for "higher
thinking," including judgment, planning and abstract reasoning.
It may also damage areas in the front of the temporal
lobes, disrupting social behavior and language skills.
Like Alzheimer's disease, frontotemporal
dementia eventually spreads throughout the brain, causing
increasing cognitive breakdown until patients require round-the-clock
by Catherine E. Myers. Copyright © 2006 Memory Loss and the Brain