Alzheimer's blog

Frontotemporal dementia comes to fore

By Angela Lunde October 9, 2007

I am finding your stories compelling, full of insight, experience, pain and compassion, and I am pleased to hear how much you appreciate reading the stories of one another.

In a previous posting, I mentioned that there are many forms of dementia, and although Alzheimer's disease accounts for 60 percent to 70 percent of cases of dementia, other disorders that cause dementia include: vascular dementia, Parkinson's disease, dementia with Lewy bodies and frontotemporal dementia.

In the early stages of these diseases, there can be some clear distinctions between each of them. However, late in the disease all dementias appear more alike than different. I bring this up again, because some of you may have seen news stories recently of U.S. Sen. Pete Domenici of New Mexico announcing his retirement because he has been diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia (FTD).

Sad proof yet again, that dementia knows no bounds of status, ethnicity, or gender. There are so many ironies in this disease. In this case the irony is that Sen. Domenici worked so hard for many years for mental health parity, in other words, equal attention and treatment of mental and physical disorders. Now he appears afflicted with a form of dementia that will initially affect his personality, reasoning, and maybe his language but eventually all areas of mental functioning. As with all of you, our thoughts and sympathies go out to the Domenici family.

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Oct. 09, 2007