The current clinical syndrome frontotemporal dementia (FTD) was first described in 1892 by the Czech psychiatrist Arnold Pick. He described a patient with aphasia and behavioural changes with on macroscopic examination marked left frontotemporal atrophy. In 1911, Alois Alzheimer described the detailed microscopic changes, including argyrophilic neuronal inclusions, which are still known as Pick bodies. The term Pick’s disease was introduced in 1926 and was used till the early 90’s to describe the clinical and pathological entity. To date, Pick’s disease is used for a neuropathological subgroup of FTD patients. FTD encompasses distinct canonical syndromes: the behavioural variant of FTD (bvFTD), and two language variants, semantic dementia (SD), and progressive non-fluent aphasia (PNFA). FTD is accompanied by motor neuron disease (MND) in 5 – 15 % of the cases. FTD patients characteristically present at presenile age with variable behavioural changes and language disturbances. The clinical syndrome FTD is part of a wide clinicopathological spectrum designated by the term frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD). The last few years have seen major advances in our understanding of FTD, its genetic causes and pathological substrates. In 1994, a genetic-epidemiological study on FTD was started at the Erasmus University Medical Center of Rotterdam. Since then, over 400 patients have been included in our FTD cohort. The aim of this thesis was to describe and determine the relationship between the clinical presentation, genetics and pathology of FTD, with emphasis on the hereditary form of FTD.

clinical genetics, dementia, frontotemporal dementia, neurology, pathology
P.A.E. Sillevis Smitt (Peter) , P. Heutink (Peter)
Erasmus University Rotterdam
Stichting Dioraphte, Hersenstichting Nederland, Prinses Beatrix Fonds, Nuts OHRA, Nolet Distillery B.V., Het Remmert Adriaan Laan Fonds, AstraZeneca B.V., Novartis Pharma B.V., Lundbeck B.V., Alzheimer Nederland (Bunnik), DSW Zorgverzekeraar
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Seelaar, H. (2011, March 23). Frontotemporal Dementia: clinical, genetic, and pathological heterogeneity. Erasmus University Rotterdam. Retrieved from