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A Dementia That Rivals Alzheimer’s Strikes Before Age 65

The assumption by many is that memory impairing diseases only affect those age 65 and older.  However, these diseases are being diagnosed much earlier in life with other forms of dementia besides Alzheimer’s included.  NBC recently wrote an article detailing one of these forms of memory impairment called frontotemporal dementia or FTD.

What is FTD?  FTD is a form of dementia that generally strikes much earlier in life than Alzheimer’s disease.  Its symptoms – especially in its early stages – are much different than Alzheimer’s disease because it originates in a different part of the brain.  It has also been a disease that doctors thought was rare, but that viewpoint is now changing.

“We’ve begun to realize that frontotemporal dementia is actually more common than Alzheimer’s disease in people with degenerative disorders under the age of 60,” said Dr. Bruce Miller, director of the Memory and Aging Center at the University of California, San Francisco.

The Alzheimer’s Association believes that in people younger than age 65, FTD could account for up to 20 to 50 percent of memory impairing diseases.  The difference in FTD from Alzheimer’s disease – in its early state – are the disease symptoms.  FTD starts with behavioral problems such as judgment decisions, self-control and extremely aggressive behaviors.  This is caused by death of nerve cells in the front lobes, which then spreads to other areas of the brain, leading to fading memory. As the diseases progress, FTD and Alzheimer’s become more and more difficult to tell apart.

To find out more about this form of dementia click on this article.

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