No single test can identify frontotemporal dementia, so doctors attempt to identify certain characteristic features while excluding other possible causes.
The disorder can be especially challenging to diagnose in the early stages, as symptoms of frontotemporal dementia often overlap with those of other conditions.
To see if your symptoms are being caused by a different condition, such as liver or kidney disease, your doctor may order blood tests.
Sometimes doctors undertake a more extensive assessment of reasoning and memory skills. This type of testing is especially helpful in determining the type of dementia at an early stage.
By looking at images of the brain, doctors may be able to pinpoint any visible abnormalities — such as clots, bleeding or tumors — that may be causing signs and symptoms.
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). An MRI machine uses radio waves and a strong magnetic field to produce detailed images of your brain.
- Positron emission tomography (PET). PET scans use a small amount of low-dose radioactive material that's injected into a vein to help visualize blood sugar metabolism in the brain, which can help identify frontal or temporal lobe brain abnormalities.
Oct. 29, 2016
- Frontotemporal disorders. National Institute of Aging. https://www.nia.nih.gov/alzheimers/publication/frontotemporal-disorders/introduction. Accessed Sept. 16, 2016.
- Burrell JR, et al. The frontotemporal dementia-motor neuron disease continuum. The Lancet. 2016;388:919.
- Frontotemporal disorders. The Alzheimer's Association. http://www.alz.org/dementia/fronto-temporal-dementia-ftd-symptoms.asp. Accessed Sept. 17, 2016.
- Goldman L, et al., eds. Alzheimer disease and other dementias. In: Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 25th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2016. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Sept. 17, 2016.
- Lee SE, et al. Frontotemporal dementia: Clinical features and diagnosis. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Sept. 16, 2016.
- Warren JD, et al. Frontotemporal dementia. BMJ. 2013;347:1.
- Weishaupt JH, et al. Common molecular pathways in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and frontotemporal dementia. Trends in Molecular Medicine. 2016;22:769.
- Lee SE, et al. Frontotemporal dementia: Treatment. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Sept. 16, 2016.
- Caceres CA, et al. Family caregivers of patients with frontotemporal dementia: An integrative review. International Journal of Nursing Studies. 2016;55:71.
- Neurological diagnostic tests and procedures. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/misc/diagnostic_tests.htm. Accessed Sept. 20, 2016.
- Larson EB. Evaluation of cognitive impairment and dementia. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed Sept. 20, 2016.
- Riggin EA. AllScripts EPSi. Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. June 28, 2016.
- Alzheimer's disease research centers. National Institute on Aging. https://www.nia.nih.gov/alzheimers/alzheimers-disease-research-centers. Accessed Sept. 19, 2016.
- Participating institutions. Arizona Alzheimer's Research Consortium. http://azalz.org/about-us/participating-institutions/. Accessed Sept. 19, 2016.