Today, March 24, 2020 As we struggle through shelter at home and the intimidating Coronavirus, I offer a view thoughts on this situation and then I had a riveting and candid conversation with my friend, Dr. Peter Pressman, about FTD. This is a difficult, scary disease that often leaves the person diagnosed and family members with a shell of the person who once was. Behaviors are off the chart disturbing, from lack of judgment and reasoning, to sexual issues, lack of empathy and extreme apathy about others feelings. The person experiencing this type of dementia (PED) generally doesn’t accept that there is a problem, and from the viewpoint of others they may appear as if nothing is wrong. Family members and caregivers will tell you this disease is even more difficult to live with than Alzheimer’s. The (PED) has a short attention span, laser focused attention on certain subjects, and loses intimacy with partners. Spontaneous interactions get lost over time and interest in friends and family relationships are often lost during this journey. They often have trouble with money, spending too much, too often, and even yours if you’re not careful. There is no cure for this dementia and we now know Aricept can be an enhanced agitator which should not be given to the PED.
Dr. Pressman is a neurologist with the University of Colorado Anschutz Rocky Mountain Center for Dementia. He came to Denver after working at University of California, San Francisco, with DR. Bruce Miller for many years. UCSF is leading the nation in Frontotemporal Degeneration studies.