Understanding the Science

AFTD is committed to providing scientific information about frontotemporal degeneration that is up-to-date, accurate, and accessible to a lay population. Each year researchers unravel new information about the genetic and molecular basis of FTD, improving our understanding of theses disorders and pointing toward potential targets for treatment.

While understanding the science will not change the realities of everyday life with FTD, it will provide a broader framework for understanding the diagnoses, help caregivers and patients communicate clearly with their clinician, and clarify the importance of participating in research to accelerate efforts to develop treatments.

The articles below explain key research findings and developments in frontotemporal degeneration.

FTD Talk:  A Website that Explains Topics in Research

FTD Talk is a website started in 2014  by researchers at University College London Institute of Neurology in the UK.  The page is designed to provide jargon free updates of recent research findings in frontotemporal degeneration (FTD). Their main aim is to make the science of FTD easy to understand for the whole FTD community.

NIH Funds Study of Neuroimaging in FTD

Howard Rosen, M.D., Medical Advisory Council member, wrote an article for the Fall 2009 AFTD newsletter on a study funded recently by the National Institutes of Health that aims to learn more about how to use brain imaging to follow patients with FTD over time.   To read the full article and a summary of common imaging techniques, click here.

The Importance of Biomarkers

Dr. Brad Boeve, former AFTD Medical Advisory Council Chair, authored an article for the Spring 2009 AFTD newsletter on the importance of biomarkers in FTLD and how these tests become essential to future clinical trials. For the full text of this article and a summary of common imaging techniques see Importance of Biomarkers in FTLD.

Terminology and Research Overview

In the November 2007 issue of the AFTD newsletter, former AFTD Medical Advisory Council Chair, Dr. Brad Boeve, authored an article describing terminology and current research in the field of FTD. For the full text of this article, click here.

The Role of TDP-43 in FTD and ALS

In October 2006, scientists at the University of Pennsylvania discovered the disease protein responsible for about 30-40% of cases of frontotemporal dementias (FTDs). The protein is called TDP-43 and is the key to understanding how frontotemporal dementia and ALS are related. For more about TDP-43 and the role it plays in FTD, click here.

The Role of the PGRN Gene (progranulin) in Genetic Cases of FTD

In the July 16, 2006 scientific journal Nature, two separate groups of researchers reported new gene mutations that appear to be responsible for hereditary FTD in approximately 5% of families with the disease. The gene involved is called PGRN, is located on chromosome 17, and codes for the protein progranulin. To learn more about this finding, click here.

The Fall 2006 issue of the AFTD newsletter also offers an overview of these two research findings (TDP-43 and PGRN). Click here to read the full text.

The Use of Memantine in FTD

Dr. Adam Boxer of UCSF led a study on effectiveness of the Alzheimer’s Disease drug, memantine, on people affected with FTD. Click here to read the results of the study.