The Other Dementia

By Katherine Nichols, San Francisco Chronicle Magazine

UCSF is at the forefront studying frontotemporal dementia, a wasting disease similar to Alzheimer’s that strikes patients at their peak.

Dawn spoke with impeccable grammar until she reached her late 40s, when she began struggling to assemble a sentence. Her 8-year-old daughter would ask for a hug, but the once-doting mother pushed her away. A former vice president at a local bank, Dawn became unable to manage her own finances. Her spending became so irrepressible that her family had to seek court orders to prevent her from losing everything she had saved. Before she was diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia (FTD) at the University of California at San Francisco in 2002, Dawn divorced her husband.

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