Here’s a surprising new development. This week I was sitting with my mother, chatting comfortably about what was “new”, and as she attempted to remark on something that caught her attention out the window, she suddenly got stuck on a syllable and began a fast staccato stutter.
For a moment I thought she was mimicking someone or trying to be funny. It went on for several seconds before she was able to move on to the next word. It sounded like Max Headroom from the 80’s TV show, kind of like a CD skipping. She did not seem to recognize that something weird had just happened.
This was a little alarming to me, but I tried to act like nothing unusual had happened. When I got home, I googled “dementia and stuttering.” What came up in most of the responses was a form of dementia called Frontaltemporal Demantia, or FTD. It is less common that Alzheimers or vascular dementia, but does affect speech and motor skills in this way.
So, suppose Mother has this FTD. There is no treatment and the prognosis is pretty much the same as other types. The genetic connection is possible if there is a family history, but there is no known cause identified. Does it matter to know if this is it, if it does not change anything we do or expect to happen?