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Neurology

December 2011

FocusNeurology

Frontotemporal dementia

Features, diagnosis and management

Volume 40, No.12, December 2011 Pages 968-972

Daniel KY Chan MD, FRACP, MHA, is Professor, Faculty of Medicine, University of New South Wales and Director and geriatrician, Department of Aged Care & Rehabilitation, Bankstown-Lidcombe Hospital, Sydney, New South Wales.

Sharon Reutens MBBS, FRANZP, is a psychogeriatrician, Department of Aged Care Psychiatry, Bankstown-Lidcombe Hospital, Sydney, New South Wales

Dennis KW Liu MBBS, PDipID(HK), MRCP, FHKAM(Med), is visiting Fellow, Department of Aged Care, Bankstown-Lidcombe Hospital, Sydney, New South Wales and Department of Medicine & Therapeutics, Prince of Wales Hospital, Hong Kong SAR

Richard O Chan MBBS, is a registrar, Department of Aged Care & Rehabilitation, Bankstown-Lidcombe Hospital, Sydney, New South Wales.

Background

Frontotemporal dementia is the third or fourth most common form of dementia in the 45–65 years age group. It causes significant morbidity as well as a six to eightfold increase in mortality risk.

Objective

This article provides an overview of the pathophysiology of frontal lobe function and the genetics of frontotemporal dementia. It also summarises the clinical features, diagnosis and management of frontotemporal dementia.

Discussion

While the clinical presentation of frontotemporal dementia was described as early as the nineteenth century, recent advances in genetics have resulted in greater understanding of the pathophysiology of this disease. While imaging may support the diagnosis of frontotemporal dementia, it is essentially a clinical diagnosis based on the presence of typical clinical features and the findings of neuropsychological tests. Clinical management of frontotemporal dementia remains a challenge and is largely centred on behavioural management. Pharmacological agents such as selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors and antipsychotics may be helpful, although evidence to support their use is minimal.

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Correspondence afp@racgp.org.au

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Topics

Aged care Neurology

Type

Focus