Anosognosia – A symptom of mental illness where the patient cannot perceive their own illness

Aphasia – A condition that impairs one’s ability to communicate. It can affect their speaking, writing, or understanding words. Primary progressive aphasia (PPA) is one of the types of FTD where patients experience gradual decline in their language skills.

Apathy – Lack of interest or motivation to do things that usually were found meaningful, such as performing daily tasks, self-care (e.g. taking showers) or engaging in conversations. Apathy is a common symptom of FTD.

Autopsy – Medical examination of the body after death. Frontotemporal dementia can only be definitively confirmed by examining brain pathology after an autopsy.

Amyloid – An abnormal form of protein that can be deposited in organs. Ratio of beta-amyloid to other proteins in the spinal fluid (cerebrospinal fluid) can be used to differentiate between FTD and Alzheimer’s disease.

Apraxia – A neurological disorder that affects performing skilled movements (e.g. speaking or moving limbs) when one has the desire and the ability to do so.

Atrophy – Diminution or wasting away of a body part or a tissue. Dementia can be one of the symptoms of brain atrophy.

Autopsy – Medical examination of the body after death. Frontotemporal dementia can only be definitively confirmed by examining brain pathology after an autopsy.

Autosomal dominant – One of the ways that a genetic trait can be passed on from parent to child. If one of the parents contains a genetic mutation, their child (either boy or girl) has 50% chance of inheriting and being affected by the gene. Three most common genetic mutation in FTD are progranulin (GRN), chromosome 9 open reading frame 72 (C9orf72) and microtubule-associated protein tau (MAPT). All genetic causes of FTD have autosomal dominant inheritance.

Biomarker – Any measurable biological feature that indicates a normal or abnormal biological process in the body. Examples of biomarkers include blood pressure, heart rate and cholesterol.

Cerebellum – A structure that is located at the back of the brain. The cerebellum is responsible for coordinating muscles for movement (e.g. throwing a ball or driving), posture, and balance.

Chromosome – A thread-like structure that contains deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA). It contains all genetic information - instructions to form every cell in the body. Every cell contains 23 chromosome pairs in the nucleus.

Clinical diagnosis – Identification of disease based on the patient’s history, as well as cognitive, behavioural and motor features detected by the clinician during the assessment. Brain imaging, neuropsychological evaluation and pathological findings may assist in this regard.

Cognition – Mental process involved in acquisition, recollection, and manipulation of information including thinking, understanding and problem-solving.

Delusion – A belief in altered reality despite the evidence that directs against the belief.

Dementia – A general term for collection of symptoms caused by brain impairments. Symptoms are characterised by progressive decline in one’s behaviour, ways of thinking and movement.

Delirium – Confusion in the way of thinking (e.g. disorientation or poor memory) and reduced awareness of the environment (e.g. inability to stay focused or disengagement during conversation). Compared to dementia, delirium happens rapidly, over few hours or days. Delirium is a symptom of dementia however not all people experiencing delirium has dementia.

Disinhibition – behaviours that can seem insensitive or rude. Disinhibition in people with dementia includes actions that does not follow the usual social rules such as making tactless comments, exposure or fondling in inappropriate situations. This is a common symptom in FTD.

Dysarthria – Speech disorder where muscles involved in speaking are damaged or weakened. It affects their tongue or voice box and creates difficulties in forming and pronouncing words.

Dysphagia – Condition where one has difficulty in swallowing saliva or food. Symptoms include pain or coughing when swallowing.

Frontal lobe – The front part of the brain. It is responsible for more complex cognitive functions like organisation, planning, inhibition and behaviour control as well as olfaction.

MAPT (microtubule-associated protein tau) – A gene that gives instructions for forming the tau protein. A mutation in the MAPT gene means that the tau protein is not formed correctly. This means the protein cannot function normally, resulting in build-up of a toxic form of tau called hyperphosphorylated tau. A MAPT mutation is one of the most common genetic mutations found in FTD.

Neurologist – A specialist physician who diagnoses and treats conditions related to the brain, spinal cord, and nerves.

Parkinsonism – Symptoms similar to those found in Parkinson’s Disease, such as tremors, slow movement, rigidity in the limbs and impaired speech.

Pathology – Branch of medicine that studies the structural and functional causes and effects of diseases. In FTD literature, pathology generally refers to physical changes in the brain.

Pathological diagnosis – Identification of disease based on the examination of brain tissue after death. Biomarkers (e.g. from a blood test or PET scans that examine brain pathology) may also assist in determining the underlying pathological process.

Progranulin (GRN) – A multifunctional protein that is involved in cell movement. Mutations of the gene for progranulin have been linked to familial FTD.

Sporadic – Lacking a pattern. Sporadic FTD refers to patients who have no known family history of FTD, i.e., there appears to be no genetic cause of their disease. Sporadic FTD accounts for the majority of individuals with FTD.

Tau – a brain protein which helps maintain the structure of brain cells. Abnormal accumulation of tau in the brain has been linked to FTD.

Temporal lobes – A section of the brain located behind the left and right ears. The temporal lobes are involved in understanding and expressing language, as well as some aspects of memory.