Symptoms vary depending on the area of the brain affected. Most become worse over time.
Behavior changes may include:
- Increasingly inappropriate actions
- Loss of the ability to relate to others emotionally
- Lack of inhibition
- Lack of interest, enthusiasm or concern
- Compulsively repetitive behavior
- Worsening personal hygiene
- Changes in eating habits, predominantly overeating
- Lack of awareness of thinking or behavioral changes
Changes in speech or language may include:
- Increased trouble using and understanding written and spoken words
- Difficulty remembering words
- Speech that, though technically correct, isn't relevant to the current conversation
- Talking more slowly or hesitantly
In rare cases, movement disorders may also develop. Symptoms of movement disorders include:
- Muscle spasms
- Poor coordination
- Difficulty swallowing
- Muscle weakness
Causes and Risk Factors
Frontotemporal dementia is caused by the breakdown of brain tissue. Sometimes, it is linked to a genetic change, but not in most cases.
FTD is associated with a buildup of proteins in the brain known as tau and TDP-43. The exact reason this buildup leads to FTD is not yet known.
The only known risk factor is a family history of dementia.