Mayo Clinic doctors who have training in nervous system conditions (neurology) and other specialties diagnose frontotemporal dementia.
To diagnose frontotemporal dementia, your doctor will review your symptoms and your medical history. Your doctor will conduct a neurological examination and check for signs of other medical conditions that may be causing your symptoms. Frontotemporal dementia may be difficult to diagnose because its symptoms are similar to Alzheimer's disease and other conditions. Your doctor will conduct several tests to support your diagnosis and exclude other conditions.
- Mental status and neuropsychological tests. Your doctor will ask you questions and conduct tests to measure your thinking skills (cognitive skills). Your doctor may ask your family members questions about your emotional state, your behavior problems and daily routines. You also may have a psychiatric assessment to test for behavior changes, depression or other mental illness.
- Speech and language assessments. Doctors may assess your ability to speak and understand speech, and read and write, to determine which communication abilities are affected. You and your family members may be asked about your difficulties with communication in work and other daily activities.
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). An MRI uses powerful radio waves and magnets to create a three-dimensional view of your brain. In this test, your doctor can view changes or abnormalities in your brain.
- Computerized tomography (CT scan). A CT scan uses a series of X-rays to create a detailed, three-dimensional view of your brain. Your doctor may use this test to detect changes or abnormalities in your brain.
- Positron emission tomography (PET) scan or single-photon emission computerized tomography (SPECT). In these tests, a doctor injects you with a small amount of radioactive material and places emission detectors on your brain. PET provides visual images of brain activity. SPECT measures blood flow to various regions of your brain.
Read more about magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), computerized tomography (CT) scan and positron emission tomography (PET) scan at MayoClinic.com.