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Welcome to the MGH FTD Unit

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Frontotemporal Dementia is the name given to a number of brain disorders that primarily affect the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain. They are usually slowly progressive and may affect various aspects of a person's behavior, language, emotions, memory, or other abilities. Although there are a growing number of helpful resources to assist people in learning about these disorders, it is important to recognize that not all of the information that is usually described will typically apply to every individual. That is, each person's symptoms usually include only some of the list of symptoms described.

FTD Unit educational materials, including slides from recent presentations

Web resources

Association for Frontotemporal Dementia
Primary Progressive Aphasia information at Northwestern University
FTD information at UCSF
FTD Research Group -- includes a practical guide to caring for patients with younger onset dementia
National Aphasia Association
Cure PSP: Society for Progressive Supranuclear Palsy
Alzheimer's and Related Disorders Association
We Move (movement disorders society--this link leads to page on Corticobasal Degeneration
Consensus document on frontotemporal dementia in ALS
Guide to early onset dementia, written by Dr. John Hodges and colleagues at FRONTIER, Australia

The MGH FTD Unit aims to develop better knowledge about and diagnosis and treatment of all forms of FTD and related focal dementia syndromes. The PPA Program aims to better understand and treat primary progressive aphasia syndromes using existing technologies (including speech therapy) and by developing new diagnostic and treatment technologies.

Our research is generously funded by the National Institute on Aging and the Alzheimer's Association.

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A complex spectrum
FTD and related disorders span a complex array of conditions. Clinically, the symptoms experienced by people range from changes in cognitive functions, emotion or personality, and/or movement. Pathologically, there are relationships between certain forms of FTD and ALS and other neurodegenerative diseases. This complexity can lead to great confusion when medical professionals use different terms to describe the same thing, or similar terms meant to capture different features of the diseases. This is illustrated by the term Pick's disease, which has variably been used to describe the clinical condition we now refer to as behavioral variant FTD, or the specific FTD tau pathology known as Pick's disease.