Pick’s Disease: Causes, Symptoms And Treatment

Dementias are a type of neurodegenerative disease in which different mental capacities are progressively lost, with the person as a whole progressively deteriorating as the disease progresses. The best known of these diseases is Alzheimer’s.although there are many others.

Within this group of disorders, another neurodegenerative disease that has characteristics very similar to those of Alzheimer’s is known as Pick’s disease. Let’s see what its characteristics are.

Pick’s disease: main characteristics

Pick’s disease is a neurodegenerative disorder which causes the progressive deterioration of the mental abilities of those who suffer from it due to neuronal death. Thus, it causes frontotemporal dementia, with cell destruction beginning in the frontal lobe and gradually expanding to the temporal lobe.

This disease is a relatively common form of frontotemporal dementia, with it estimated that around 25% of them are due to Pick’s disease. Symptoms usually begin between 40 and 50 years of age.and it has the peculiarity that it is a disease that does not become more prevalent as age increases (unlike Alzheimer’s).

Like most other dementias, Pick’s disease is a disease that causes progressive and irreversible deterioration without periods of remission occurring and culminating in the death of the individual. It has a course of around 5 to 15 years between the onset of symptoms and the death or death of the subject.


The presentation of the symptoms of Pick’s disease sometimes causes it to be confused with rare forms of Alzheimer’s, but It has characteristics that allow it to be distinguished from this and other dementias.

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The main symptoms of dementia caused by this disease are the following.

1. Personality changes

One of the first symptoms to be noticed in Pick’s disease is the presence of sudden changes in the patient’s personality. These changes usually refer to an increase in behavioral disinhibition, greater aggression and impulsivity, and even an increase in socialization. The opposite can also occur, presenting abulia and apathy.

2. Altered mood

Like personality, mood can also be altered from the early stages of the disease. Emotional lability, irritability, nervousness or on the contrary emotional dullness can be frequently seen.

3. Executive functions

Taking into account that the alteration begins in the frontal, it is easy to associate this disease with the presence of alterations in executive functions. Decision making, risk assessment, planning and maintaining or changing action become more complicated. It is common to observe the existence of perseverance and even obsessive characteristics. Especially marked is the lack of impulse control.

4. Socialization

It is also common for the patient’s social relationships to deteriorate. Although initially in some cases a approach to others by reducing the level of inhibitionIn the long run, social bonds and skills deteriorate. It is also common that the weakening of self-control causes them to be hypersexual, engaging in practices such as masturbation in public.

5. Memory

In its expansion through the frontal and temporal, Pick’s disease gradually generates memory alterations both anterograde and retrograde. These alterations occur later compared to other dementias such as Alzheimer’s, with which it is sometimes confused.

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6. Language

Pick’s disease usually causes alterations in the patient’s language over time. It is common for speech, as well as reading, to slow down and lose fluency. Anomie, perseveration and repetition of words and echolalia are also common. Also the pragmatic use of language, both in its verbal and paraverbal aspects, and its adaptation to specific norms and situations often present alterations.

Its causes

Pick’s disease is a problem whose origin is unknown. However, it has been detected that people who suffer from Pick’s disease have alterations in tau protein-coding genes.

The tau protein appears in excess in the brain, within complexes known as Pick bodies. These cells cause damage to neurons in the frontal and temporal areas that culminate in a progressive atrophy of the cerebral lobes. The presence of balloon neurons is also observed.

The fact that genetic mutations have been found in the genes that develop this protein indicates that this disease is influenced by genetics, and in fact can be transmitted to offspring.

Treatment of Pick’s disease

Dementia caused by Pick’s disease has no treatment that can reverse its effects. Thus, Pick’s disease It does not have a curative treatment as of today.. But despite this, it is possible to slow down the deterioration caused by the progression of the disease and help those affected have a better quality of life.

On a psychological level, the use of occupational therapy and neurostimulation in order to keep the patient mentally activated. It is also useful to use compensatory mechanisms regarding the skills that are being lost, such as the use of an agenda to control the things that must be done so that memory deficits have less effect on your daily life.

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Psychoeducation, counseling and psychological support for both the patient and their environment It is also essential, since we are facing a complicated situation in which the existence of information regarding what is happening to the individual is essential to understand their situation.

At a pharmacological level, different psychotropic drugs such as antidepressants or even some antipsychotics can be used to control the symptoms.