Frontotemporal dementia, also known as Pick’s disease, is a rare form of dementia that is very similar to Alzheimer’s disease except that it only affects certain areas of the brain. Individuals with frontotemporal dementia have an abnormally high amount of a protein Tau in the brain. This protein is found is all nerve cells, but scientists are still searching for the cause of the abnormal quantities that develop in some individuals. Frontotemporal dementia is very rare and usually affects individuals between ages 40 to 60.
This is a progressive disease that slowly worsens over time. The disease gets its name because the Tau protein only affects the frontal lobes and temporal lobes of the brain.
The tissues in these areas of the brain start to shrink over time; since the frontal and temporal lobes control our higher level reasoning, expressive language, speech perception and memory formation, it makes sense that individuals with frontotemporal dementia struggle with these tasks.