Vim & Vigor - Summer 2017 - University of Virginia - 53

THE

Other

DEMENTIAS
Linda Brown assumed it was Alzheimer's. Instead,
she's facing a different disease that's erasing her
husband's memories and stealing his personality
BY KELLY CASEY

B

uzz Brown was always a mechanically
minded, fun-loving guy, who, above all,
adored his six grandchildren. Today,
he's nothing like that.
"Buzz could take anything apart and put
it back together," shares his wife, Linda, of
Smithfield, Virginia. "But eventually he got to
the point where he'd be in the middle of changing the oil on his tractor and not remember how
it went back together. ... We really noticed a
change, though, when Buzz withdrew and didn't
have an interest in his grandchildren anymore."
She assumed Buzz, like his dad, had
Alzheimer's disease. But in 2012 she learned
he had frontotemporal dementia (FTD).
He was only 64.
Linda had never heard of this type of dementia. She's not alone.
"The most common misconception I hear
is that dementia means Alzheimer's," says
Erin Foff, MD, PhD, Buzz's neurologist and

founder of the UVA Health System FTD
Clinic, part of the larger Memory and Aging
Care Clinic.

Dementia's Many Forms

When someone comes to UVA because of
cognitive decline, Foff is open to the possibility that it could have one of dozens of potential
causes. The person's age is an important clue:
"There's no doubt that with late-onset disease
[after age 65]," she says, "Alzheimer's is the most
common form of neurodegenerative dementing illness, followed not that far by Lewy body
and vascular disease, then FTD [see page 55,
'A Close Second to Alzheimer's']. But with earlyonset dementia, the numbers actually shift. For
those younger than 60, FTD is the most common
dementing illness, and between ages 60 to 65,
Alzheimer's and FTD are equally common."
In rare cases, signs of dementia can be
reversed. But most of the time, it is the result

SUMME R 2017

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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Vim & Vigor - Summer 2017 - University of Virginia

Contents
Vim & Vigor - Summer 2017 - University of Virginia - Cover1
Vim & Vigor - Summer 2017 - University of Virginia - Cover2
Vim & Vigor - Summer 2017 - University of Virginia - Contents
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Vim & Vigor - Summer 2017 - University of Virginia - Cover3
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