A group of scientists from Mayo Clinic have successfully traced the link on how untreatable frontotemporal lobar degeneration (FTLD), a form of dementia is developed and affects the behavior, personality and language ability in a person.

"We now can look for a direct link between these two proteins and the development of FTLD," said Rosa Rademakers, a neuroscientist and the study’s lead author. "The hope is that if we do find a strong association, it might be possible to manipulate levels of one or both of these proteins therapeutically.”

The study published in American Journal of Human Genetics showed a direct relation between FTLD and two proteins – progranulin and sortilin. Mayo researchers have found that sortilin controls progranulin absorption in the brain cell. This finding can create headway in the treatment of FTLD as it can help the scientific community to manipulate the levels of sortilin to control progranulin absorption. "Our study shows that changes in the levels of sortilin result in different levels of progranulin available to cells. Given that we found FTLD patients often have less progranulin than they should, we believe that if you can manipulate levels of progranulin and/or sortilin in the brain, you might have a way to treat this disorder," said Dr. Rademakers.

Confirming Mayo clinic’s study, a group of researchers from Yale University have also found out a close link between progranulin and sortilin. But, scientists are yet to ascertain the normal function of progranulin protein and its reaction to other proteins. “Our study and the study led by the Yale researchers describe completely independent and unbiased screens which both identified this protein sortilin as being important in the regulation of progranulin," Dr. Rademakers says. "This obviously opens new avenues for treatment for patients with progranulin mutations and perhaps dementia patients in general."

FTLD is the common neurodegenerative disease found in youngsters compared to adults. This brain disorder still remains untreated and scientists around the world are on the lookout for a successful FTLD treatment method.