Masellis, MarioFinger, Elizabeth
Sunnybrook Research Institute (Toronto, Ontario)
Genetic Frontotemporal Dementia Initiative (GENFI) in Canada
Alzheimer's disease & other dementias
There have been three major genes discovered that cause familial forms of frontotemporal dementia (FTD), a devastating group of disorders associated with personality and behavioural changes and/or language difficulties in those suffering. The impact to individuals and their families is huge because FTD affects those in the prime of their lives, often between the ages of 45 to 55. The gene abnormality predicts that an individual who harbours it will be at high risk of developing symptoms, but does not predict when this will occur and what features they will have. Therefore, it is critical that studies concentrate on developing powerful markers using brain imaging and genetics that can identify the earliest stages of disease before symptoms develop. It is hoped that novel drugs being developed can be used to eventually prevent the disease from starting in those at risk.