RADNOR, Pa., Sept. 30, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Supporters from throughout the U.S. will host events during the 2nd Annual "Food for Thought" campaign from October 5-12, with the goal of raising awareness about frontotemporal degeneration (FTD). FTD is an often-misdiagnosed, progressive neurodegenerative disease affecting 50,000 people in the United States, and is the leading cause of dementia in adults under age 60.
Frequently confused with Alzheimer's, Parkinson's, and certain psychiatric disorders, FTD is comparatively rare and easy to misdiagnose. The disease presents with a pattern of decreased functioning marked by:
Significant changes in personality
Loss of empathy
Decline in executive functions (planning, organizing, decision-making)
Apathy, withdrawal from activities
Inappropriate social behaviors
Halting speech or difficulty understanding words or sentences
Progressive problems with movement, similar to Parkinson's or ALS
"FTD strikes people in the prime of their life, eroding their personality, their ability to speak, move, and behave within social norms," said Susan Dickinson, Executive Director of the Association for Frontotemporal Degeneration. "Through our Food for Thought campaign, we are mobilizing our grassroots supporters to spread the word about this terrible disease and to raise funds for research and services."
While there is no known cure for FTD, there is much to be hopeful about. Federal officials recently included it in national research priorities to cure Alzheimer's disease and other dementias by 2025. The increased attention on FTD has significant potential to lead to advances in other, more prevalent neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's, Dickinson added.
In 2013, supporters raised more than $50,000 with events in 25 states involving food and FTD education. This year, grassroots advocates in 37 states will hold more than 70 "Food For Thought" events in communities throughout the U.S.