RADNOR, Pa., Aug. 13, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Frontotemporal degeneration (FTD), a disease process that results in progressive damage to the temporal and/or frontal lobes of the brain, has been formally included in national research priorities to cure Alzheimer's disease and other dementias by 2025, the Association of Frontotemporal Degeneration (AFTD) announced today.
Federal officials included FTD research priorities in an updated 2014 plan introduced at a recent meeting of the National Alzheimer's Project Act (NAPA) Advisory Council, according to AFTD Executive Director Susan Dickinson. NAPA is the premier national strategic framework for advancing research on treatment, prevention and cures for Alzheimer's disease and other dementias.
The increased attention on FTD is expected to lead to additional research funding as well as improved care and resources for patients and caregivers. Considered to be the second most common cause of young onset dementia, FTD is often initially misdiagnosed as a psychiatric problem, Alzheimer's disease or Parkinson's disease. Research gains in FTD have significant potential to lead to advances in other neurodegenerative diseases, Dickinson said.
"AFTD is extremely gratified that FTD has been incorporated into the national research priorities to cure Alzheimer's and other dementias," said Dickinson. "FTD takes a devastating toll on the more than 50,000 patients living in the U.S. with the disease, as well as their family members and other caregivers. While research is advancing very rapidly, there remain significant gaps in our knowledge and funding, as identified by our landscape analysis. FTD's inclusion in the national goal-setting process will fuel the momentum to help find a cure for this and other more prevalent neurodegenerative disorders, such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases."
FTD is a rare disease, affecting approximately 50,000 nationwide. It is a debilitating form of dementia that affects the frontal and/or temporal lobes of the brain. FTD strikes people in the prime of life--typically between ages 50 and 60--and erodes their ability to speak, move and/or behave within social norms. There is no known cure for FTD. Current treatments may address symptoms but do not alter or slow disease progression. For those affected, getting a correct diagnosis is challenging, as many physicians are unfamiliar with FTD.