Dementia striking patients as young as 30

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By Mike Gertzman By Mike Gertzman

PHOENIX -- Dementia is often a disease associated with the elderly, but there is a form of it that can strike people as young as 30.

It’s called frontotemporal dementia or FTD.

Unlike Alzheimer’s which affects the back and side of the brain, FTD affects the frontal lobe which houses a person’s behavior, personality and language skills.

Dr. Geri Hall from the Banner Alzheimer’s Institute in Arizona says FTD can occur in patients ranging from ages 30 to 40 years old.

A patient with FTD often loses the ability to experience empathy, loss of language, a decrease in reasoning and judgment skills, lacks concentration and loses the ability to stop doing things.

Often times, a person with FTD is misdiagnosed as being depressed or bi-polar. Because of this, the treatments for these misdiagnoses don’t work and can often lead to frustration for the patients and their families.

According to Dr. Hall, there is no cure for FTD and the brain degeneration is pretty rapid. For some, the ability to talk completely ends and even the ability to swallow can stop.

A fundraiser for FTD research is being held on October 6th at the Buffalo Chip Saloon in Carefree, Ariz. The cost is $15 for an all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet.

For more information about FTD, you can visit