What is FTD?
What is FTD?

Frontotemporal dementia (FTD) is an umbrella term used to describe a group of younger onset neurodegenerative conditions with typically affects people in their 40s, 50s, and 60s, but can occur in younger and older people.

  • FTD affects both men and women.
  • FTD is a neurodegenerative condition which means it gets worse over time.
  • FTD mostly affects the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain.
  • FTD is not the same as Alzheimer’s disease.

Specific FTD subtypes include:

  • Behavioural-variant Frontotemporal dementia (bvFTD)
  • Semantic dementia (SD)
  • Progressive non-fluent aphasia (PNFA)

Individuals with FTD can also have parkinsonism and motor neuron disease. More information about the specific FTD subtypes can be found here. A glossary of common terms surrounding FTD can be found here.

FTD is estimated to be the second most common cause of dementia in younger people after young-onset Alzheimer’s disease. The world-wide prevalence of the disease is uncertain but it has been estimated that for every 100,00 people aged 45 to 64, between 15 to 22 will develop FTD (Knopman 2011).

To date there have been no comprehensive prevalence studies of FTD in Australia. There is limited research funding into the condition and how it affects Australians and their families.

There are a limited number of specialists, FTD clinics, and FTD specific services in Australia compared with the US and Europe. While the services we have can be very helpful, the relative lack of specialist services can add to the burden of Australians living with FTD.