Frontal lobe dementia

Many people confuse frontal lobe dementia with Alzheimer’s disease however frontal lobe dementia is not the same as Alzheimer’s at all. Frontal lobe dementia affects people between the ages of 40-65 and the frontal lobe does not affect memory. Alzheimer’s does not start until after the age of 65 and affects your memory. The frontal lobe of the brain is in charge of mood and behavior, these are the things affected when you have frontal lobe dementia. There will be gradual changes in personality, social skills, concentration, and reasoning skills. Memory, language and vision will not be affected until it spreads to other areas of the brain which usually occurs after two years. Unlike many diseases it seems women are actually more prone to get frontal lobe dementia than men.

Pick’s disease is one form of frontal lobe dementia. Pick’s bodies are abnormal particles in the brain that can be seen under a microscope, they are called “Pick’s bodies” after the neurologist that discovered them. Pick’s bodies are fibrous tangles of tau proteins. An inherited mutation of the tau gene can increase your risk of developing Pick’s disease. The more common type of abnormality seen under a microscope is called non-specific focal degeneration. The name “non-specific” is used because there are not any abnormal particles that are identified, instead there is evidence that brain cells have been eliminated. Trauma to the frontal lobe or other disease that affects the brain can cause frontal lobe dementia. As mentioned, a risk factor for Pick’s disease is an inherited tau gene. Risk factors for the more common form of frontal lobe dementia include high blood pressure, diabetes, smoking, being overweight, and a family history of heart disease.

Symptoms of frontal lobe dementia can be a big change in personality. There is a change in activity level and someone may go from always being active and social to being withdrawn, depressed, and tired. They may act inappropriate in social situations such as going to work and removing their shoes and socks. Their judgment skills decrease meaning they may no longer be able to make sound financial judgments, an example includes going on a shopping spree that puts them in debt. They may not be able to judge when something can hurt them such as crossing a street without looking. You may see a change in their emotions. They may not be as compassionate as they used to be and they may be more irritable.

As always, it is important to pay attention to these symptoms, you may even notice it in a loved one rather than yourself. A doctor would be able to diagnose someone with frontal lobe dementia with a physical exam and hearing of these personality changes from a loved one or if the patient can notice it as well. Blood tests can also help in a diagnosis as well as a CT scan or MRI. The only treatments available for frontal lobe dementia are antidepressants, behavioral therapy, and serotonin-based supplements. These may simply help with the symptoms but cannot cure the disease.

There may not be any prevention for frontal lobe dementia, but you can most certainly lower your chances of getting it. Many of the risk factors for frontal lobe dementia have to deal with heart disease, weight, and blood pressure. Maintaining a healthy weight can lower your chances of high blood pressure and heart disease. This can be done by eating healthy and exercising regularly. If you notice any of these changes in yourself or a loved one, be sure to see a doctor. It would be helpful to get treatment at the beginning stages since this can happen at an early age.

Last updated on Jan 20th, 2010 and filed under Neurological Disorders. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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