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Frontotemporal dementia’s unusual presentation

UCI Health neurologist clarifies the differences

February 29, 2024

IN THE NEWS: Talk show host Wendy Williams recently went public with her diagnosis of frontotemporal dementia with aphasia — the same diagnosis actor Bruce Willis received last year.

KNBC 4 logo blue background white numeral 4 with rainbow peacock logoFrontotemporal dementia is not a typical type of dementia. As UCI Health neurologist Dr. Seyed A. Sajjadi explained to NBC 4 Los Angeles:

“Frontotemporal dementia is a relatively rare form of dementia that by definition affects individuals in their young ages, which means less than 65 years of age.

"It is different compared to other more common types of dementia, mainly in the age of onset and also in its presentation...involving the language function and the behavior function, unlike more common forms of dementia that typically present with memory problems.”

With two high-profile diagnoses of frontotemporal dementia in recent years, Sajjadi cautions that the incurable, slow-progressing condition is not quite as rare as people may think.

Sajjadi’s clinical interests include Alzheimer’s disease and atypical dementia. He is an associate professor of neurology and pathology at UCI School of Medicine.

Sajjadi studies neurodegenerative conditions across the aging spectrum, with research focusing on Alzheimer’s disease, primary progressive aphasia, frontotemporal dementia and dementia in the oldest adults. He is the recipient of several grants from the National Institutes of Health and the author of a number of studies that have appeared in prominent medical journals.

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