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Does Frontal Lobe Dementia Cause Headaches

Blood Vessels That Supply The Frontal Lobe

What is frontotemporal dementia?

Like all strokes, a frontal lobe stroke is caused by interruption of blood flow to a region of the brain. This can be caused by blocked blood vessel or by a bleeding blood vessel.

A frontal lobe stroke is caused by interruption of blood flow through any of the following arteries:

  • The internal carotid artery or its branches
  • The middle cerebral artery or its branches
  • The anterior cerebral artery or its branches

Usually, a frontal lobe stroke involves only the left frontal lobe or the right frontal lobe because each side receives blood from arteries on its own side.

Symptoms Of Frontotemporal Dementia

Signs of frontotemporal dementia can include:

  • personality and behaviour changes acting inappropriately or impulsively, appearing selfish or unsympathetic, neglecting personal hygiene, overeating, or loss of motivation
  • language problems speaking slowly, struggling to make the right sounds when saying a word, getting words in the wrong order, or using words incorrectly
  • problems with mental abilities getting distracted easily, struggling with planning and organisation
  • memory problems these only tend to occur later on, unlike more common forms of dementia, such as Alzheimer’s disease

There may also be physical problems, such as slow or stiff movements, loss of bladder or bowel control , muscle weakness or difficulty swallowing.

These problems can make daily activities increasingly difficult, and the person may eventually be unable to look after themselves.

Read more about the symptoms of frontotemporal dementia.

Headaches Due To Referred Pain

Some headaches can be caused by pain in some other part of the head, such as tooth or ear pain, pain in the jaw joint and pains in the neck.

Sinusitis is a common cause. The sinuses are ‘holes’ in the skull which are there to stop it from being too heavy for the neck to carry around. They are lined with mucous membranes, like the lining of your nose, and this produces mucus in response to colds or allergy. The lining membranes also swell up and may block the drainage of the mucus from the space. It then becomes thickened and infected, leading to headache. The headache of sinusitis is often felt at the front of the head and also in the face or teeth. Often the face feels tender to pressure, particularly just below the eyes and beside the nose. You may have a stuffy nose and the pain is often worse when you bend forwards. Acute sinusitis is the type that comes on quickly in association with a cold or sudden allergy. You may have a temperature and be producing a lot of mucus. Chronic sinusitis can be caused by allergy, by overusing decongestants or by an acute sinusitis that doesn’t settle. The sinuses become chronically infected and the sinus linings chronically swollen. The contents of the sinuses may be thick but often not infected.

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When Should You Seek Help

Most headaches are benign and dont require a visit to a doctor. These are called primary headaches, and they make up more than 90 percent of headache complaints, according to the Cleveland Clinic.

If your headaches are chronic and interfere with your daily activities, see a doctor. The Cleveland Clinic notes that chronic tension-type headaches affect only 2 percent of the population, but account for many doctor visits and missed days of work.

Other headaches, called secondary headaches, have symptoms for which you should see a doctor or go to the emergency room. Secondary headaches may have serious underlying problems that are causing the headache. Seek help if your headache is:

  • sudden and severe
  • new but persistent, especially if youre older than 50
  • the result of a head injury

You should also see a doctor if you have a headache and any of the following:

  • a stiff neck

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Can Lifestyle Changes Help Frontotemporal Dementia

Medication can be effective for treating dementia, but lifestyle treatments can help, too. Helping people find a comfortable environment can help them cope with the symptoms of dementia.

Environment is important. Maintaining an environment that doesnt upset someone is vital. Make sure your home is well-lit and has minimal noise. People with behavior problems need to be in environments that are familiar. They may also need to avoid large crowds.

People with speech problems may need to be in environments where communication is easier. They may wish to keep tools for communicating, like a pen and paper, with them all the time.

What Are The Early Signs Of Frontal Lobe Dementia

What are the symptoms of frontotemporal dementia?Behavior and/or dramatic personality changes, such as swearing, stealing, increased interest in sex, or a deterioration in personal hygiene habits.Socially inappropriate, impulsive, or repetitive behaviors.Impaired judgment.Apathy.Lack of empathy.Decreased self awareness.More items

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Dealing With Headaches And Dementia

Whether its a dull ache or a temple-splitting torment, headaches are never a pleasant thing to experience.

While direct links between headaches as a symptom of dementia are hazy at best for many people living with dementia, and those caring for them, persistent headaches can be a real blight on their daily lives.

Of course, the truth is, most people suffer from the odd headache and even migraines from time to time. And all sorts of causes can be at play, from stress to aching muscles, emotional distress to immune system fighting a bug, lack of sleep to increased brain processing. But, when people with dementia feel headache symptoms coming on, its often not as simple as taking some paracetamol and hoping the pain subsides.

Subtypes And Related Disorders

Frontotemporal Dementia

The main subtypes of frontotemporal dementia are behavioral variant FTD, semantic dementia, progressive nonfluent aphasia, and FTD associated with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis . Two distinct rare subtypes are neuronal intermediate filament inclusion disease, and basophilic inclusion body disease. Related disorders are corticobasal syndrome, and progressive supranuclear palsy.

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How Emotion Is Being Processed In The Brain

Neurotransmitters, such as serotonin and dopamine, are used as chemical messengers to send signals across the network. Brain regions receive these signals, which results in us recognising objects and situations, assigning them an emotional value to guide behaviour and making split-second risk/reward assessments.

The Effects Of A Frontal Lobe Stroke

The effects of a stroke can differ depending on which region of the brain is involved. If you or a loved one has had a stroke involving the frontal lobe of the brain, then you might be seeing some very noticeable effects, such as leg weakness,arm weakness, or memory loss.

The brain’s frontal lobe is relatively large and controls many important functions in everyday life. A frontal lobe stroke can cause a variety of symptoms and long-term effects, which range from weakness to lack of motivation.

Hugo Lin / Verywell

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Comparison With Other Studies

Few other registry studies have evaluated the association between headache and the development of dementia. An association between migraine and the occurrence of dementia with Lewy bodies was found in a study linking the Swedish dementia registry and the patient registry . However, although the results in previous studies on migraine and cognitive decline have been somewhat mixed, results from longitudinal studies consistently have found that individuals with migraine are not at increased risk of cognitive decline . However, to the best of our knowledge, no previous registry studies from other countries have evaluated the relationship between non-migrainous headache and dementia.

Differences Between Ftd And Other Dementias

Adult symptoms

FTD differs markedly in several ways when compared to other dementias, especially Alzheimerâs disease:

  • FTD is characterized by cerebral atrophy in the frontal and anterior temporal lobes of the brain, while Alzheimerâs affects the hippocampal, posterior temporal, and parietal regions.
  • The neurofibrillary tangles, senile plaques, and Lewy bodies present in the brains of Alzheimerâs and other dementia patients are absent.
  • Alzheimerâs patients experience severe memory loss. While FTD patients exhibit memory disturbances, they remain oriented to time and place and recall information about the present and past.
  • FTD patients, even in late stages of the disease, retain visuo-spatial orientation, and they negotiate and locate their surroundings accurately.
  • Intellectual failure in FTD is distinctly different from that of Alzheimerâs patients. Results of intelligence tests are normal in those with FTD until the point in the disease when disinterest results in lower scores.
  • Life expectancy is slightly longer for FTD.

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What Are The Symptoms Of Behavioural Variant Ftd

This is the most common type of frontotemporal dementia. In the early stages it mainly causes changes in someones personality and behaviour.

A person with behavioural variant FTD may:

  • lose motivation to do things that they used to enjoy
  • struggle to focus on tasks and become distracted easily
  • find it difficult to plan, organise and make decisions these problems may first appear at work or with managing money
  • lose their inhibitions behaving in socially inappropriate ways and acting impulsively or without thinking. For example, making insensitive or rude comments about someones appearance, making sexual gestures in public, staring at strangers, or being verbally or physically aggressive
  • lose the ability to understand what others might be thinking or feeling they may be less considerate of the needs of others, lose interest in social activities or be less friendly. They may also have less of a sense of humour or laugh at other peoples problems. This can make the person appear cold and selfish
  • show repetitive or obsessive behaviours for example, repeating phrases or gestures, hoarding or being obsessed with timekeeping. They may also take up new interests for example, music or spirituality. These might give the person a positive focus but can become obsessive in nature
  • crave sweet, fatty foods or carbohydrates and forget their table manners. They may also no longer know when to stop eating, drinking alcohol or smoking.

Primary progressive aphasia

Treatments For Frontotemporal Dementia

There’s currently no cure for frontotemporal dementia or any treatment that will slow it down.

But there are treatments that can help control some of the symptoms, possibly for several years.

Treatments include:

  • medicines to control some of the behavioural problems
  • therapies such as physiotherapy, occupational therapy, and speech and language therapy for problems with movement, everyday tasks and communication
  • dementia activities such as memory cafes, which are drop-in sessions for people with memory problems and their carers to get support and advice
  • support groups who can offer tips on managing symptoms from dementia experts and people living with frontotemporal dementia, and their families

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Diagnosis Of Frontal Lobe Brain Injury

Healthcare providers can diagnose frontal lobe strokes and infections with diagnostic scans. Options include a magnetic resonance imaging and computed tomography .

An MRI creates a two or three dimensional image of the brain using a magnetic field and radio waves. A CT scan creates a 3D image from multiple X-rays.

Some causes, like dementia or a traumatic brain injury, may appear on a scan as atrophy, or brain tissue loss. The scan may also show nothing.

MRI and CT scans are both effective tools for diagnosing vascular dementia.

A complete neuropsychological evaluation or a concussion test can help a healthcare provider assess damage to the frontal lobe. These tests look at:

  • Speech skills

Is There Treatment Available

Frontal Lobe Testing

There is not yet a cure for FTD, or any disease modifying treatment. However, various therapies can help with some of the symptoms. Secondary symptoms, such as depression, may be helped by medication.

Knowing more about FTD and why the person is behaving as they are can help people to cope with the disease.

Family members and carers can, with support, develop coping strategies to work around problems rather than trying to change the behaviour of the person with FTD.

Psychological therapies are important to help manage abnormal behaviour.

Speech therapy is of benefit to people with PNFA, particularly in helping to develop alternative communication methods.

The input of an occupational therapist can help improve everyday functioning at home.

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Can You Live Without A Frontal Lobe

Technically, you can live without a frontal lobe. However, you would experience a total paralysis of your cognitive abilities and motor control. In short, you wouldnt be able to reason and form simple thoughts, and you also wouldnt be able to move. So, it would be best to keep your frontal lobe intact.

Strengths And Limitations Of The Study

The major strengths of this study are the population-based design and the use of validated headache diagnoses with good sensitivity and high specificity for both migraine and non-migrainous headache . The diagnoses of dementia were verified in all patients by a team of clinical experts in dementia. However, because the diagnostic procedure differed in cases identified by the hospital and nursing home, a limited number of specific dementia diagnoses were used in the present study. The group of confirmed non-demented underwent a medical examination and were interviewed about their health prior to the cognitive testing. In the multivariate analyses, we were able to adjust for a large number of potential confounding factors. Nevertheless, the possibility of residual confounding by unrecognized factors cannot be wholly excluded.

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What Is The Outlook For Frontotemporal Dementia

In the early stages, the symptoms and signs of frontotemporal dementia can be cared for and treated with good results. Late-stage frontotemporal dementia can take years to develop. As the disease progresses, 24-hour care may become necessary.

Frontotemporal dementia shortens a persons life span. The condition will eventually cause a person to have difficulty with bodily functions such as:

  • swallowing

Behaviour And Personality Changes

Behavioral Variant of Frontotemporal Dementia

Many people with frontotemporal dementia develop a number of unusual behaviours they’re not aware of.

These can include:

  • losing interest in people and things
  • losing drive and motivation
  • inability to empathise with others, seeming cold and selfish
  • repetitive behaviours, such as humming, hand-rubbing and foot-tapping, or routines such as walking exactly the same route repetitively
  • a change in food preferences, such as suddenly liking sweet foods, and poor table manners
  • compulsive eating, alcohol drinking and/or smoking
  • neglecting personal hygiene

As the condition progresses, people with frontotemporal dementia may become socially isolated and withdrawn.

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What Emotions Does The Frontal Lobe Control

  • What Emotions Does the Frontal Lobe Control? Center
  • The frontal lobe plays a role in regulating emotions in interpersonal relationships and social situations. These include positive as well as negative emotions.

    People with damage to the prefrontal cortex of the frontal lobe area face difficulty in controlling the emotions of anger and aggression.

    How Is Frontotemporal Dementia Treated

    Currently, no treatments are available to cure or slow the progression of FTD, but healthcare providers may prescribe medicine to treat symptoms. Antidepressants may help treat anxiety and control obsessive-compulsive behaviors and other symptoms. Prescription sleeping aids can help ease insomnia and other sleep disturbances. Antipsychotic medicine may reduce irrational and compulsive behaviors.

    Behavior modification may help control unacceptable or risky behaviors.

    Speech and language pathologists and physical and occupational therapists can help adjustment to some of the changes caused by FTD.

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    Size Of A Frontal Lobe Stroke

    A frontal lobe stroke can be large or small, depending on whether interruption of blood flow occurs in one of the large blood vessels or in a small branch of a blood vessel.

    Because the frontal lobes are substantial in size, specific regions of the frontal lobe may be damaged by a stroke, while other regions are spared. If there is a great deal of swelling or bleeding immediately after a stroke, the short-term phase may be uncertain as the bleeding and swelling slowly resolves.

    What Causes Picks Disease

    Frontotemporal dementia: Signs and Symptoms

    Picks disease, along with other FTDs, is caused by abnormal amounts or types of nerve cell proteins, called tau. These proteins are found in all of your nerve cells. If you have Picks disease, they often accumulate into spherical clumps, known as Pick bodies or Pick cells. When they accumulate in the nerve cells of your brains frontal and temporal lobe, they cause the cells to die. This causes your brain tissue to shrink, leading to the symptoms of dementia.

    Scientists dont yet know what causes these abnormal proteins to form. But geneticists have found abnormal genes linked to Picks disease and other FTDs. Theyve also documented the occurrence of the disease in related family members.

    Theres no single diagnostic test that your doctor can use to learn if you have Picks disease. They will use your medical history, special imaging tests, and other tools to develop a diagnosis.

    For example, your doctor may:

    • take a complete medical history
    • ask you to complete speech and writing tests
    • conduct interviews with your family members to learn about your behavior
    • conduct a physical examination and detailed neurologic examination
    • use MRI, CT, or PET scans to examine your brain tissue

    Imaging tests can help your doctor see the shape of your brain and changes that may be occurring. These tests can also help your doctor rule out other conditions that can cause symptoms of dementia, such as brain tumors or stroke.

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