Can Frontotemporal Dementia (FTD) Kill You?

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Frederika Malichová

Frederika Malichová

Neuroscientist at the University Of Cambridge.

Can Frontotemporal Dementia Kill You?

Frontotemporal dementia (FTD), on its own, does not directly cause death. However, as the disease progresses, the affected individual experiences complications such as infections or failure of other body systems, which typically cause death.

The average age when symptoms first appear is roughly 52.8 years, with the typical life expectancy following diagnosis being about 10.5 years. Among these, the FTD-ALS variant, which combines FTD and Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) shows the shortest lifespan, at 3.5 years [1]

Frontotemporal dementia (FTD) is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder. It is caused by the build-up of either microtubule-associated protein tau, TAR-DNA binding protein 43 (TDP43), fused in sarcoma protein (FUS) or ubiquitin. Accumulation of one of these proteins leads to neuronal death in the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain. The disease can occur sporadically, or due to an inherited genetic mutation known as familial FTD. It leads to severe impairments mainly associated with language and behaviour.

Frederika Malichová

Frederika Malichová

Frederika is a postgraduate researcher at the University of Cambridge, where she investigates new biomarkers for Frontotemporal Dementia and other tauopathies. Her research has been published at prestigious conferences such as the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference 2023. She obtained her BSc in Biomedical Sciences from UCL, where she worked closely with the UK Dementia Research Institute.