A few epidemiologic studies have dealt with the prevalence of frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD), including Pick’s disease. The aim of this study was to review the epidemiologic studies of FTLD in western countries and to compare them with those in Japan. A community-based study of early-onset dementia in London revealed that 12% of cases with frontotemporal dementia (FTD) fulfilled the Lund-Manchester criteria in contrast to 34% of cases with Alzheimer’s disease (AD) in a sample of 185 cases. The Cambridge Group has recently examined the prevalence of early-onset dementia in a community-based study. Of 108 cases, 15.7% had FTLD and 25% had AD. FTLD included 13 FTD cases, and 2 each with semantic dementia (SD) and nonfluent progressive aphasia (PA). Almost one third of cases with FTLD (29%) had a positive family history. Of our consecutive 330 outpatients with dementia (hospital setting without age limitation), 42 (12.7%) had FTLD and 215 (65.1%) had AD. In our series of patients, 22 FTD, 15 SD and 5 PA cases were identified. There was no family history in all subtypes of FTLD. Epidemiologic studies, both community-based and hospital-based, demonstrate that FTLD is a more common cause of early-onset dementia than previously recognized. Regarding the subtypes of FTLD, in Japan, compared with the data from the UK, FTD is less common, SD may be more common and PA is equally common. The reason for this discrepancy is supposed to be mainly based on the role of heredity.
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