The study is based on a review of brain examinations and patient journals of 281 deceased people who between the years 1967 and 2013 were diagnosed with AD or FTD.
The researchers have followed the entire duration of the disease for this group, from the patients’ first contact with a physician to follow up after death.
“The individuals with frontotemporal dementia displayed physically aggressive behaviour earlier in their disease than people with Alzheimer’s,” said psychiatry resident Madeleine Liljegren, doctoral student at Lund University and lead author of the study.
The difference may be due to the fact that the diseases arise in different parts of the brain, suggested Maria Landqvist Waldö, co-author of the study and one of the supervisors of the project.
“For those with frontotemporal dementia, the damage begins in the frontal parts of the brain, which is where among other things our capacity for empathy, impulse control, personality and judgement reside,” she said.