A significant expansion of knowledge in the last few years, especially in the molecular biology of frontotemporal dementia (FTD) is summarized. This condition, formerly known as Picks disease and considered rare, is estimated to be 12-15% of all dementias and 30-50% early onset ones. The clinical picture is protean, mainly a behavioural and language impairment, but the extrapyramidal syndromes of CBD and PSP are often seen and conversely FTD and progressive aphasia often has motor symptoms, including ALS . These seemingly different presentations converge, as one or other areas in the brain are affected. Our experience with FTD in a clinical cohort, with high rate of autopsy confirmation is presented. Less than half of the cases are tauopathies, the majority has been discovered to have a TDP-43 and most recently a FUS proteinopathy, shared with ALS, opening potential opportunities for pharmacological approaches to treatment. Tau and progranulin mutations on Ch-17 and some others, point to molecular mechanisms. A glossary is provided to navigate the complex terminology.
Keywords: Frontotemporal dementia, progressive aphasia, semantic dementia, corticobasal degeneretion, progressive supranuclear palsy, tauopathies, TDP-43, ubiquitin, FUS, Pick bodies, PPA, bvFTD, CBD, NIIs