Apathy – Lack of feeling, emotion, interest, or concern.

Assisted living facility – A supervised place where people with various types of disabilities live. Here they receive assistance with activities of daily living and help coordinating outside health care services. Supervision and assistance helps ensure their health, safety, and well-being.

Assessment of risk – The process of determining the likelihood that a specific negative event will occur.

Atrophy – The process of a body organ shrinking or deteriorating as a result of a disease or lack of use.

Autosomal dominant – One way that a trait or disorder can be passed down through families. An autosomal dominant trait can be seen in many generations of the family, passed from grandparent to parent to child.

Behavioral variant FTD (bvFTD) – The most common form of FTD that causes changes in a person’s personality, behavior and complex thinking. These changes often result in socially inappropriate behavior, lack of judgment, and impaired language. Symptoms and progression can vary dramatically from person to person.

Biomarker – A biomarker is an indicator of a biological process or a disease process that can be measured objectively.

Cells – The smallest unit of life that make up the basic structure of all living things.

Clinical trials – Research studies that explore whether a medical treatment or device is safe and effective for humans.

Contagious –  A disease that is spread from one person or organism to another through physical contact or contact with bodily fluids.

Corticobasal syndrome (CBS) – A disorder of the nervous system that worsens over time and affects movement (motor system), awareness, perception and judgment (cognitive function).  Results may include slow movement, rigid movements or tremors.

Dementia – A wide range of symptoms associated with a decline in memory or other thinking skills that make it hard for a person to perform everyday activities. Alzheimer’s is the most common type of dementia.

Depression – A mood disorder that causes constant feelings of sadness, worry, worthlessness, hurt and loss of interest.  Depression can affect a person’s thoughts, behaviors, feelings and sense of well-being.

Diagnosis – Identifying or determining the cause of a disease by examining patient history and symptoms.

Disease – An illness that prevents the body or mind from working normally.

Frontal lobes – One of the 4 main regions (lobes) of the cerebral cortex in a human brain. The frontal lobe controls movement, emotions, decision-making, problem solving, planning and parts of speech.

Frontotemporal degeneration (FTD) – A group of disorders that gets worse over time and damages the brain’s temporal lobes (areas behind the ears) and frontal lobe (area behind the forehead). Results include a gradual, progressive change in behavior, personality, and language, and typically starts in people in their 50s to 60s.

Genetic – A trait that is passed down from one generation to another. A person gets half their genetic information from their mother and half from their father. Examples include: hair and eye color, height, blood type.

Genetic counselor – A medical professional who helps people understand and make decisions based on genetic information. They also help people decide if they want to know their risk of getting a genetic disease.

Genetic mutation – A change that damages or alters DNA or the chromosomes that carry DNA. These changes can be passed from one generation to the next.

Genetic testing A medical test that looks for changes (mutations) in a person’s genes. It can be used to look for gene changes that might put a person at risk for getting a disease.

Group home – A home where a small number of people in need of care, support or supervision live.

Induced pluripotent stem cells – A technology that enables a researcher to take a skin cell from a person who has inherited a disease mutation and create a nerve or muscle cell that contains that same known genetic mutation.

Lobe – One section (subdivision) of a body organ or part. The brain, liver and lungs all have lobes.

MRI scan – “MRI” stands for Magnetic Resonance Image. This is a kind of medical technology that uses radio and magnetic waves to take pictures of the inside of a person’s body. The pictures can then be viewed on a computer.

Nerves – Cells that make up the nervous system. Nerves carry messages from one part of the body to another with tiny electrical signals known as nerve impulses.

Nervous system – The nervous system relays messages back and forth from the brain to different parts of the body through the spinal cord. The spinal cord runs from the brain down through the back and contains threadlike nerves that branch out to every organ and body part.

Neurodegenerative disease – Neurodegenerative diseases are incurable and result in degeneration and / or death of nerve cells. This causes problems with movement or mental functioning.

Neurologist – A doctor who specializes in the nervous system. A Neurologist treats disorders that affect the brain, spinal cord and nerves.

Nursing home – Provides 24-hour nursing care to those who are chronically ill or injured, have health care needs as well as personal needs and are unable to live alone.

Prescribe – To give directions on a particular course of action or treatment for a disease.

PET scan – A medical device that uses radiation or nuclear imaging to take 3D, colored pictures of the inside of the human body. These pictures can help doctors diagnose and understand health conditions inside a person’s body.  “PET” stands for Positron Emission Tomography.

Psychiatrist – A doctor who specializes in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of mental illness.

Primary progressive aphasia (PPA) – A language and speech disorder that worsens over time when the parts of the brain that control speech and language (frontal and temporal lobes) are damaged. Speech and language symptoms will vary depending on what areas of brain are most affected. .

Progressive disease – A disease that gets worse, grows or spreads over time. The progression of the disease will continue until the person becomes seriously weak, their organs fail or death. There are treatments and therapies for some progressive diseases, but some cannot be stopped or cured.

Progressive supranuclear palsy (PSP) – A movement disorder that gets worse over time and occurs when certain nerve cells in the brain are damaged.  Results include difficulty walking, stiffness, dizziness, forgetfulness and change in personality.

Speech language therapist – A professional who helps treat people who have difficulty speaking, communicating and/or swallowing.

Spinal cord – Large group of nerves that run through the center of the spine and carry messages between the brain and the rest of the body.

Sporadic – When ascribed to a disease, one that is not inherited. The cause of the disease is not known.

Symptoms – A change in the body or mind that can be observed and is a sign of illness or injury.

Temporal lobes – One of the four main lobes in the cerebral cortex located on both sides of the brain.  Temporal lobes allow people process input, understand language, store memories, feel emotions and derive meaning.