Frontotemporal Dementia (FTD) is the second most prevalent form of dementia next to Alzheimer's disease. Occurring in the frontal and temporal lobes
of the brain, FTD affects speech, general behavior, and personality of its
victims. Symptoms can appear as early as one's fifties.
FTD is not only distinguished from Alzheimer's by early onset. Though
certain behaviors may overlap in symptoms such as lack of self awareness,
inability to speak intelligibly, or changes in personality, the memory of an
FTD affected individual is likely to stay in tact until late in the
disease. In Alzheimer’s, decline in memory is one of the first signs of
Recently, considerable research has been conducted on the role of a growth
protein called progranulin in neurodegenerative diseases. Because
an abundance of this protein has been associated with cancer, progranulin was
not an obvious potential factor for any role in dementia. And it took 10
years of dedicated research by North American and European scientists to learn
that progranulin plays a very large role one neurodegenerative disease -
What scientists now know is that the FTD patient is not producing enough of
the progranulin protein, and that this is due to a mutation in the progranulin
gene on chromosome 17. This mutation is generally inherited.
Researchers worldwide are now looking at possible relationships between
progranulin production and other neurodegenerative diseases. As well,
they are looking for potential cures for FTD; there are none at this
time. However, a group of researchers at the Flanders Institute for Biotechnology
(VIB) has developed a simple blood test to check for progranulin amounts in
the blood which would predict FTD.
How long it will take before the blood test is available, it is not
known. But if this knowledge is important to you, we'll all be on the lookout.
of Neuroinflammation, Science
Daily. Image: Wikipedia
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