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Frontotemporal dementia: Clinical features and diagnosis

Christopher Randolph, PhD, ABPP-CN
Section Editor
Steven T DeKosky, MD, FAAN, FACP, FANA
Deputy Editor
April F Eichler, MD, MPH


Frontotemporal dementia (FTD) is a neuropathologically and clinically heterogeneous disorder characterized by focal degeneration of the frontal and/or temporal lobes [1]. Age of onset is typically in the late 50s or early 60s, and the primary initial clinical manifestations are changes in personality and social behavior or language, progressing over time to a more global dementia. A subset of patients may also exhibit symptoms of extrapyramidal or motor neuron involvement at some point in the disease process.

For many years the clinical syndrome was known as Picks disease after Arnold Pick, who originally described the behavioral variant of this syndrome in 1892 [2]. A variety of terms to describe the clinical syndrome have ensued, including:

Frontal lobe dementia

Frontal lobe degeneration

Frontotemporal lobar degeneration


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Literature review current through: Feb 2015. | This topic last updated: Jun 27, 2013.
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