Alzheimer’s Disease vs. Frontotemporal Dementia

Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive condition that disrupts the life of millions of adults worldwide. The abnormality causes dementia, and if diagnosed on time, the severity of the consequences can be decreased. The Alzheimer’s disease pathophysiology includes multiple factors such as neuronal loss and requires examination of the patient’s physical and mental states (Lorenzi et al., 2019). Furthermore, diverse operations such as Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) and MRI can provide detailed information about a patient’s disease stage (Dubois et al., 2021). This paper aims to compare and contrast the pathophysiology between Alzheimer’s disease and frontotemporal dementia, identify clinical findings for Alzheimer’s disease, explain its development, and discuss the stage of a case scenario’s patient’s conditions.

Pathophysiology describes the causes and results of abnormalities and is essential for differential diagnosis based on a patient examination. In the case scenario, a 76-year-old man displayed memory issues and hippocampal atrophy identified by MRI, the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease and frontotemporal dementia. The pathophysiology of the former condition is based on the abnormal processing of amyloid-beta and hyper-phosphorylated tau proteins and the loss of neurons (Lorenzi et al., 2019). In contrast, frontotemporal dementia is developed due to brain atrophy in the frontal regions (Scarionis et al., 2020). Comparing the diseases’ pathophysiology revealed that both have genetic causes yet can be prevented through a physically and mentally healthy lifestyle (Bessey & Walaszek, 2019). The patient did not display brain atrophy yet had a family history of Alzheimer’s in the case scenario.

Alzheimer’s disease development is not linear, and various individual factors influence the severity and intensiveness of cognitional decline with several hypotheses, such as the Aβ cascade, Tau, and Inflammation. Du et al. (2018) claim that in the latter, the disease is developed because “reactive microglia and astrocytes will surround amyloid plaques and secrete numerous pro-inflammatory cytokines” (p. 3). Alzheimer’s disease develops as the immune response to the inflammation becomes less effective, and the condition leads to the loss of neurons’ functionality. The dysfunction can result in hippocampal atrophy, and, as it was found in the patient’s brain in the case scenario, the clinical diagnosis for them was Alzheimer’s disease.

Clinical examination is necessary to identify a patient’s stage of Alzheimer’s disease and prescribe the correct medications and treatment. Based on the case scenario, a 76-year-old man had trouble finding their way home and memory loss-related incidents, yet they denied the issues. The Alzheimer’s disease stages are based on the extent of the decline, which abnormalities can identify in an individual’s behavior (Lorenzi et al., 2019). The patient showed cognitive problems in the case scenario, yet they are still sane; thus, the mild decline stage can be identified. The conditions at this point require caregivers’ support and constant tracking of a person’s cognitive abilities. The disease management at this stage must include exercises for maintaining mental capabilities and proper communication and the use of medication that can help control the symptoms (Dubois et al., 2021). As a patient’s MRI revealed hippocampal atrophy, the risk of rapid movement to a more severe stage is relatively high.

Alzheimer’s disease is difficult to identify in the earliest stages; however, it can be diagnosed in the later stages with the symptoms of dementia, such as memory loss or cognitive issues. In the given case scenario, a patient’s behavioral changes revealed the problem, and its existence was confirmed with the MRI’s result – hippocampal atrophy. Compared to frontotemporal dementia, Alzheimer’s disease has a more complex range of symptoms and causes. The condition’s development hypothesis suggests that processes such as inflammation can lead to severe brain abnormalities when no immune response is met. A case’s patient has the mild decline stage of Alzheimer’s, which requires caregiver assistance and continuous management.


Bessey, L. J., & Walaszek, A. (2019). Management of behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia. Current Psychiatry Reports, 21(8), 1-11.

Du, X., Wang, X., & Geng, M. (2018). Alzheimer’s disease hypothesis and related therapies. Translational Neurodegeneration, 7(1), 1-7.

Dubois, B., Villain, N., Frisoni, G. B., Rabinovici, G. D., Sabbagh, M., Cappa, S.,… & Feldman, H. H. (2021). Clinical diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease: Recommendations of the International Working Group. The Lancet Neurology, 20(6), 484-496.

Lorenzi, M., Filippone, M., Frisoni, G. B., Alexander, D. C., Ourselin, S., & Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative. (2019). Probabilistic disease progression modeling to characterize diagnostic uncertainty: Application to staging and prediction in Alzheimer’s disease. NeuroImage, 190, 56-68.

Scarioni, M., Gami‐Patel, P., Timar, Y., Seelaar, H., van Swieten, J. C., Rozemuller, A. J., & Dijkstra, A. A. (2020). Frontotemporal dementia: Correlations between psychiatric symptoms and pathology. Annals Of Neurology, 87(6), 950-961.

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