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Frontotemporal Lobe Disorders

What are Frontotemporal Lobe Disorders?

Frontotemporal disorders are the result of damage to neurons (nerve cells) in parts of the brain called the frontal and temporal lobes. As neurons die in the frontal and temporal regions, these lobes atrophy, or shrink. Gradually, this damage causes difficulties in thinking and behaviors normally controlled by these parts of the brain. Many possible symptoms can result, including unusual behaviors, emotional problems, trouble communicating, difficulty with work, or difficulty with walking.*

There are over ten different types of frontotemporal disorders that can be grouped into one of three categories: progressive behavior/personality decline—characterized by changes in personality, behavior, emotions, and judgment (called behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia); progressive language decline—marked by early changes in language ability, including speaking, understanding, reading, and writing (called primary progressive aphasia); and progressive motor decline—characterized by various difficulties with physical movement, including the use of one or more limbs, shaking, difficulty walking, frequent falls, and poor coordination (called corticobasal syndrome, supranuclear palsy, or amyotrophic lateral sclerosis).


*"Frontotemporal Disorders: Information for Patients, Families, and Caregivers." National Institute on Aging, 1 June 2014. Web. 19 Oct. 2015. <>.

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