About FTD

What is FTD?

Frontotemporal dementia (also known as frontotemporal degeneration) is a progressive brain disorder that results from atrophy in the frontal and/or temporal lobes of the brain. Depending on the specific location of the degeneration, frontotemporal dementia can result in changes in behavior, language, and personality. "FTD" can refer to the whole class of disorders or a specific subtype called "behavioral variant."

What are possible symptoms?

  • Change in personality (often including social withdrawal)
  • Loss of interest in usual activities
  • Sense of detachment from family and friends
  • Socially embarrassing behavior (loss of "social filter")
  • Development of compulsive or rigid behaviors (new routines, repetitive habits)
  • Changes in eating behavior (increased intake, carbohydrate cravings)
  • Difficulty with finding or understanding words (slower verbal processing)

What do I do if my loved one exhibits some of the above symptoms?

  1. Visit a neurologist for an evaluation and share your observations.
  2. He or she will probably recommend:
    • Blood tests to rule out other causes of cognitive changes
    • Brain imaging
      An MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scan will look for changes in the size or structure of different parts of the brain
      A PET (positron-emission tomography) scan will look for changes in the activity of different parts of the brain.
  3. Once these evaluations are completed, you may request a referral from this neurologist to the UCLA FTD & Neurobehavior Clinic.
  4. Records of blood tests, neurological evaluation, and brain imaging must be sent to the Nurse Practioner and Clinic Coordinator, Jill Shapira.
  5. The records will be reviewed and you will be contacted for more information, if necessary.
  6. If the records and referral are appropriate for our program, the Clinic Coordinator will contact you to schedule an initial evaluation.

Where can I learn more about FTD?

The Association for Frontotemporal Degeneration