Frontotemporal Dementia and Alzheimer's Disease

Similarities and Differences (from “ What if it's not Alzheimer's - A caregiver's guide to dementia “- Lisa Radin and Gary Radin)


Age at which disease generally occurs

  • Common between 40 and 70 years
  • common in the elderly

Brain areas affected

  • Frontal and Temporal lobes
  • Starts in the medial temporal area, usually in the hippocampus
  • spreads to the other areas of the brain

Pathologic features

  • loss of nerve cells
  • no amyloid plaques
  • tau protein tangles seen in certain FTD, but different from AD tangles
  • loss of nerve cells
  • amyloid plaques
  • tau tangles

Clinical features

  • varying personality and behaviour changes, from apathy to hyperactivity
  • loss of empathy toward others; lack of proper social conduct
  • memory is preserved early on
  • language difficulty
  • compulsive eating and oral fixations
  • repetitive actions
  • begins with memory loss
  • loss of ability to learn new information
  • inability to orient oneself to time and place
  • later, personality and behaviour problems develop
  • possible hallucinations and delusions in later stage