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In 2010, I was diagnosed with one of the variants of FTD (PSP) in part because I came into the neurology department after a very serious fall coming out of a UNC stadium (fortunately, 100 feet from the UNC Hospital Emergency Room).  Later as my gait stabilized, it became clear that the diagnosis of behavioral variant FTD would be a better one for me as the behavioral and decision making symptoms of FTD had occurred (initially, in the years before diagnosis after the fall).

I do have some significant issues with my short term memory, especially of verbal materials (I remember faces but not names), but these are not my primary symptom as memory loss would be if I had young onset Alzheimer’s disease rather than young onset FTD. I have about 500 posts on this blogging specifying what mind mapping (or my more sophisticated variant, mind modeling) does for me. I usually talk about how it helps my decision making and learning of new things, but the natural tendency is to speak of mind mapping as a memory maintenance and enhancement method, which of course it also is. Mind mapping is also extremely useful for understanding patterns of your own behavior and focus on positive reactions to others rather than negative ones.

Here are some of the disorders that make up Frontotemporal Dementia (Disease). All involve a loss of decision making, planning, and judgment (Executive Function). For some the initial symptoms are a personality change while others start by having language problems understanding or producing language. Eventually most people with FTD (FTLD) have all three sets of symptoms. The other diseases (PSP, CBD, FTD with Parkinsonism, FTD with ALS) have initial symptoms of motor-mobility difficulties followed later by the behavioral and language problems.

Mind mapping may be so effective for use with dementia (and specifically FTD) because it is a good way to plan and make decisions, and promote judgment. It forces you to make associations between words and pictures which helps both in producing words and understanding information provided as a mind map better than a written document or verbal instructions.

And it is fun and feels artistic.

A mind model explaining some of these connections is shown below. As a reminder, I only contend that this method works for me. It may or may not work for you and should you choose to try this you should remember that I am only discussing my own observations of me.

Please click on the image to expand it.

Types of Frontotemporal DiseaseDementia and Artistic Mind Modeling as Cognitive-Behavioral Assistance