BMJ Case Reports 2011; doi:10.1136/bcr.09.2010.3303
  • Findings that shed new light on the possible pathogenesis of a disease or an adverse effect

Development of frontotemporal dementia in a case of bipolar affective disorder: is there a link?

  1. Velusamy Sivakumar3
  1. 1Sheffield Health and Social Care NHS Foundation Trust, Sheffield, UK
  2. 2Department of Older Adult Psychiatry, Clacton and District Hospital, Clacton on Sea, UK
  3. 3Old Age Psychiatry, Beighton Hospital, Sheffield, UK
  1. Correspondence to Aleksandar Pavlovic, dralex{at}


The authors present the case of a 68-year-old lady with a 35-year history of bipolar affective disorder (BPAD) type I, who developed frontotemporal dementia (FTD). Description of the psychopathology is illustrated with examples of patient's writings in order to demonstrate cognitive abilities at different stages. The diagnosis is supported by MRI and SPECT scans. The authors discuss the difficulties in differentiating the clinical presentation of chronic BPAD and FTD and examine the evidence for two important questions: Is there a relationship between BPAD and FTD and is there a relationship between lithium and risk of dementia? This is, to the best of our knowledge, the first reported SPECT scan finding in a case of frontotemporal dementia following chronic bipolar affective disorder.


  • Competing interests None.

  • Patient consent Obtained.

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