Can Dementia Steal Your Empathy?

In patients who suffer from any form of dementia, the loss of memory and other effects of the disease are devastating both to the patient and to those who care for them. Dementia can be caused by a variety of illnesses, one of the most well known being Alzheimer’s Disease (AD).


A similar form of dementia that can result from a disruption in the tau and TDP43, is known as behavior variant Frontotemporal Dementia (bvFTD). While it can be caused by protein disruptions similar to AD, it’s actually different. It used to be known as Pick’s disease, after Arnold Pick, MD who described the first case of it in the late 1800s.


It impacts the frontotemporal lobe exclusively and a new study from Australia shows that a particular symptom of it is a loss in empathy in patients diagnosed with it.