Impairment in language is a common finding among individuals with dementia and can be a presenting symptom, particularly in Alzheimer’s dementia and primary progressive aphasia. Early recognition of language dysfunction can help with an accurate diagnosis, management, and prognosis. There are numerous established and validated language evaluation protocols. This article provides a simple means for the primary care physician to identify and evaluate language disorders in dementia, but it is not meant to replace established protocols.
Key words: aphasia, dementia, primary progressive aphasia, semantic dementia, Alzheimer’s disease.
Frontotemporal dementia (FTD) is a progressive condition characterized by atrophy of the frontal and/or temporal lobes. Three main clinical syndromes have been described (behavioural variant, progressive nonfluent aphasia, and semantic dementia). The symptoms reflect the anatomical distribution of the pathological changes rather than the precise histological subtype. Frontotemporal dementia is a genetically complex disorder with a strong likelihood of inheritance, mainly transmitted as an autosomal dominant trait. Mutations in microtubule associated tau protein and progranulin have been reported in several families affected by FTD. The treatment is directed to the control of the behavioural disturbances through pharmacological and nonpharmacological approaches.
Key words: frontotemporal dementia, semantic dementia, progressive nonfluent aphasia, neuropsychology, progranulin.
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