Is frontotemporal dementia different when found with MND?

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Some people with MND develop an increasingly recognised form of dementia, known as frontotemporal dementia  or FTD (for more information visit The main symptoms of FTD include alterations in decision making, behaviour and difficulty with language.

The relationship between MND and FTD is not well understood. Prof Julie Snowden and PhD student Jennie Saxon at the Cerebral Function Unit in Salford (University of Manchester) are aiming to establish whether MND combined with FTD is subtly different to when FTD is found on its own (our grant reference: 872-792).

People diagnosed with FTD-MND, with FTD alone, and those with no form of dementia will perform a series of short cognitive tasks. These will test things including a person’s ability to recognise emotions, draw inferences about the thoughts of others, their ability to concentrate, organise actions and understand language.

Jennie Saxon
Jennie Saxon

Jennie is now part way through her second year of study. She is recruiting people from several sites in North West England to take part in the study, and is carrying out the series of short cognitive tasks with them.

In her third year, Jennie will analyse and compare the results from each of the groups to help answer the question of whether dementia in MND/FTD are different to when FTD is found on its own.

The findings from this study will hopefully offer the potential to improve identification of those people with FTD who are also at risk of developing MND, leading to improved care and quality of life.

For more information on how thinking and behaviour may be affected in MND download our care information sheet ‘Will the way I think be affected?’.


Throughout June 2016 MND Awareness Month will be highlighting the rapid progression of the disease in its powerful Shortened Stories campaign, sharing the experiences of people currently living with MND, or who have lost loved ones to the disease, through art, poetry and film.