Agnosia – The inability to recognise objects, people, or sounds despite normally functioning senses. For example, someone with visual agnosia is able to see normally but cannot recognise objects by sight.

Anomia – Word finding difficulties; the inability to retrieve words.

Anosognosia – A common symptom of dementia where someone lacks the capacity to recognise their condition and how it affects them.

Aphasia – A language disorder that impairs one’s capacity to communicate. It may affect the ability to produce speech, writing, and gestures, as well as the ability to understand speech or written words.

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 a genetic trait can be passed from parent to child. If one parent carries a genetic mutation, each of their children have a 50% chance of inheriting and being affected by the mutated gene. 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.

Circumlocution – Using many words to express an idea. A common symptom of aphasia, when someone has difficulty retrieving the specific word they want to use.

Chromosome – Threadlike structures within the nuclei of our cells, which contain genes. Humans have 23 chromosome pairs, each set inherited from one parent. Genetic disorders including FTD may be caused by mutations in the genes or damage to chromosomes.

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.

C9orf72 – A gene that provides instructions to make a protein found abundantly in neurons. Mutation of the C9orf72 gene is the most common genetic form of FTD.

Delusion – A false belief which conflicts with reality that persists in spite of evidence that the belief is untrue.

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 – A common symptom, particularly in bvFTD, where one displays socially inappropriate behaviour or impulsive, careless actions.

Disorientation – A common symptom of dementia where someone loses track of place and time. They may get lost in familiar areas or be unable to recall the date or season.

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.

Hippocampus – part of the brain involved in learning, forming new memories, and emotions.

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

Occipital Lobe – A section of the brain located at the back of the head. The occipital lobes are primarily involved in vision.

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.

Perseveration – A common symptom of dementia where one persistently repeats a word, phrase, question or action.

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

Prosopagnosia – a specific type of agnosia where one is unable to recognise familiar faces.

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.