Forefront Clinic - Frontotemporal dementia and motor neurodegeneration syndromes

The ForeFront Clinic at the Brain and Mind Centre provides multidisciplinary assessment, care plans and ongoing support for people diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia and motor neurodegeneration syndromes primarily motor neurone disease, but also including spinal muscular atrophy, primary lateral sclerosis, chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy, Kennedy’s disease, Isaac’s syndrome, multifocal motor neuropathy etc.

The clinic is integrated with the ForeFront Research Program, which is focussed on clinical neurology, in particular disease pathophysiology and treatment strategies of neurological disorders.

The integration of research programs with the clinic enables our research to be driven by an understanding of the needs of primary and allied carers, and patients and their families. This integration also facilitates the translation of research outcomes into improved healthcare practice and policy.

About motor neurone disease (MND)

Motor Neurone Disease (MND) is a fatal neurodegenerative disease resulting in progressive weakness of voluntary muscles throughout the body. The weakness is secondary to degeneration and eventual loss of motor neurons within the brain and the spinal cord.

The rate of progression of MND is unique in each patient, as is the area of the body that is affected. As the motor neurones deteriorate, the signals that they carry from the brain to the muscle become too weak to make all the muscle fibres contract, thus causing muscle weakness. As the motor neurones continue to degenerate, the muscles become weaker and wastes.

About frontotemporal dementia (FTD)

Frontotemporal dementia (FTD) represents a group of disorders that are caused by neurodegeneration in the frontal or temporal lobes of the brain, areas involved in planning and decision making, memory, inhibition, emotion, language and speech processes. Like Motor Neurone Disease (MND) the presentation and progression of FTD is unique to each individual sufferer.

Recently it has been discovered that a large percentage of MND patients also suffer from FTD. Previously it was thought that a only a small proportion of patients with MND experienced cognitive symptoms however, it is now believed that 20-50% of patients with MND meet the criteria for FTD. The recent discovery of the C9orf72 gene’s relevance to MND in 2012 has revealed further links between the two syndromes.

Services offered at the clinic

The ForeFront Clinic services include:

  • diagnostic assessment
  • nerve conduction studies
  • electromyography
  • nerve excitability
  • transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS)
  • muscle strength assessment
  • spirometry & respiratory review
  • clinical nurse consultant review
  • cognitive assessment
  • orthotic assessment
  • the opportunity to participate and contribute to important research

At the conclusion of the clinic the team hold a meeting to discuss each patient and agree upon a suitable care plan. The clinic summary and care plan is sent to the patient, their GP, and any local or private health providers involved in their care.

Patients are reviewed every 4-6 months depending on their needs.

The ForeFront Clinic Team does not perform home visits however we are closely linked with the local allied health community team and able to arrange referral to local allied health providers outside of our region.

The ForeFront Clinic strives to provide the best possible care to people with frontotemporal dementia and motor neurodegeneration syndromes and their friends and family.