Diagnosis and testing dementia

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Diagnosis of frontotemporal dementia is clinical, which means the doctor makes the diagnosis based on interviewing the patient (anamnesis) and neurological examination. Additional tests are often carried out to support the diagnosis and rule out other diseases, but these must always be interpreted through the lens of the patient's symptoms. These tests are:

Person with difficulty in doing homework

Neuropsychological tests: these tests objectively assess the patient's cognitive abilities (memory, language, reasoning, etc.). The patient’s score is compared to the general population of the same age and educational level, as both of these factors affect the test results.

Blood collection tube

Blood analysis: general health parameters that may affect brain function are assessed. Currently, no blood marker can reliably confirm the diagnosis of frontotemporal dementia.


Structural neuroimaging: Radiological neuroimaging techniques such as computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) provide a structural image of the brain, which allows the pattern of brain atrophy to be assessed.

Positron emission tomography or PET scan of the brain

Functional neuroimaging: Other nuclear medicine techniques, such as positron emission tomography, use substances with a small dose of radioactivity to provide an image of how the brain's metabolism works (fluorodeoxyglucose PET and DAT-SPECT).

Patient undergoing a lumbar puncture

Lumbar puncture: this test allows a sample of cerebrospinal fluid (the fluid surrounding the brain and spinal cord) to be obtained. Because it is in contact with the brain, it provides us with important information about problems involving this organ. Cerebrospinal fluid studies can reliably distinguish frontotemporal dementia from other dementias such as Alzheimer's disease.

DNA molecule or helix

Genetic testing: In cases of familial frontotemporal dementia, tests can be conducted to study potential genetic mutations. These genetic studies can be carried out using a blood test.

The donations that can be done through this webpage are exclusively for the benefit of Hospital Clínic of Barcelona through Fundació Clínic per a la Recerca Biomèdica and not for BBVA Foundation, entity that collaborates with the project of PortalClínic.


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