A woman watched her husband’s behavior change dramatically—so much so she even considered divorce. He was eventually diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia, a rare and frequently misdiagnosed brain disease that affects personality and language skills:
“Looking back, Mrs. French, who is 66 and lives in Manhattan, recalled episodes of odd behavior over the years and realized that her husband’s mind had probably begun to slip while he was in his 50s, at least a decade before the disease was diagnosed. He had always changed jobs a lot. At the time she took it as a sign of a stubborn personality, not of illness — and it is still not clear which it was. He always wanted to do things his own way, and that did not sit well with some bosses.
“‘I thought it was just Michael being Michael,’ she said.
“A friend described Mr. French as being unable to read the tea leaves, oblivious of corporate politics. At one point Mrs. French even bought him a self-help book. But he never changed.”