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The Arts and Medicine
April 3, 2018

Artistic Renaissance in Frontotemporal Dementia

Author Affiliations
  • 1Memory and Aging Center, Department of Neurology, University of California, San Francisco
  • 2Department of Neurology, Cognitive and Behavioral Neurology Section, Hospitales Universitarios de Granada (Hospital Universitario Virgen de las Nieves), Granada, Spain
  • 3FIDYAM Neurocenter, Granada, Spain
JAMA. 2018;319(13):1304-1306. doi:10.1001/jama.2017.19501

Individuals with frontotemporal dementia (FTD) experience progressive behavioral changes accompanied by cognitive and functional decline. However, this process is not always one of inexorable decline, as occasionally loss in one area of function can lead to enhancement in others. This phenomenon, known as paradoxical functional facilitation, occurs when suppression or loss of activity in one part of the brain leads to a release of activity in another.1 Over the years, we have cared for many patients with FTD who experience a sudden onset increase in artistic creativity. Here we describe 2 patients who exemplify the phenomenon.