Frontotemporal dementia

Frontotemporal dementia or FTD (sometimes called Pick’s disease) is a relatively rare form of dementia.

Some people with FTD have a family history of dementia and the condition may be inherited in some of these families.

For behavioural variant FTD, a third to half of people could have a family history. This figure is thought to be much lower for other forms of FTD. Overall, around one in ten cases of FTD are thought to be caused by a faulty gene passed down in families – also known as familial frontotemporal dementia.

Scientists have found a number of faulty genes that can cause inherited forms of FTD, including tau, progranulin and C9ORF72. If your doctor suspects a strong family link, you may be offered a genetic test and/or close relatives may be offered genetic counselling. For more information visit our ‘Genes and dementia’ page.

In cases of FTD where there is no family history, the risk factors are not yet fully understood and research is underway to find out more.

For more general information about risk factors for dementia, visit our section on risk factors and prevention.

This information was updated in January 2018 and is due for review in January 2020. It does not replace any advice that doctors, pharmacists or nurses may give you. Please contact us if you would like a version with references.

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