Pick’s disease: causes, symptoms and treatment

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

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

    Pick’s disease: main features

    Pick’s disease is a neurodegenerative disease which causes the progressive deterioration of the mental capacities of those who suffer from it due to neuronal death. Thus, it causes frontotemporal dementia, initiating cell destruction in the frontal lobe to gradually extend to the temporal.

    This disease is a relatively common form of frontotemporal dementia, about 25% of which is due to Pick’s disease. Symptoms usually start between the ages of 40 and 50, And has the particularity of being a disease which no longer prevails with age (unlike Alzheimer’s disease).

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


    The onset of symptoms of Pick’s disease is sometimes confused with unusual forms of Alzheimer’s, but it has characteristics that allow it to distinguish itself from this dementia and others.

    The main symptoms of dementia caused by this disease are as follows.

    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 often refer to increased behavioral disinhibition, increased aggression and impulsivity, and even increased socialization. The reverse can also occur, presenting with abulia and apathy.

    2. Altered mood

    Like personality, mood can also be altered in the early stages of the disease. Emotional lability, irritability, nervousness or conversely, emotional dullness can be observed frequently.

    3. Executive functions

    Since 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 maintenance or change of action are complex. It is common to observe the existence of persistence and even obsessive traits. Particularly marked is the lack of impulse control.

    4. Socialization

    It is also common for the patient’s social relationships to deteriorate. While initially in some cases it can be provided approach others by reducing the level of inhibitionIn the long run, bonds and social skills deteriorate. It is also common for weakened self-control to cause them to exhibit hypersexuality, performing practices such as masturbation in public.

    5. Memory

    In its expansion by the frontal and the storm, Pick’s disease slowly causes memory impairment both antegrade and retrograde. These disorders occur later compared to other dementias such as Alzheimer’s disease with which it is sometimes confused.

      6. Language

      Pick’s disease usually causes changes in the patient’s tongue over time. It is common for speech, as well as literacy, to slow down and lose control. Anomie, perseverance and repetition of words and echolalia are also common. Likewise, the pragmatic use of language in verbal and paraverbal aspects and its adaptation to specific rules and situations often present alterations.

      its causes

      Pick’s disease is a problem of unknown origin. However, people with Pick’s disease have been found to have alterations in the genes encoding the tau protein.

      Tau protein appears in excess in the brain, in complexes called Pick bodies. These cells cause damage to neurons in the frontal and temporal area which results in progressive atrophy of the brain lobes. The presence of abalonadas 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 it can be passed on to the offspring.

      Treatment of Pick’s disease

      The dementia caused by Pick’s disease has no treatment that can reverse its effects. Thus, Pick’s disease he has not received proper curative treatment to date. But even so, it is possible to slow down the deterioration caused by the progression of the disease and help those affected to have a better quality of life.

      At the psychological level, it is essential to use the occupational therapy and neurostimulation in order to keep the patient mentally active. It is also helpful to use compensatory mechanisms in terms of skills that are lost, such as using a diary to control things you have to do and that memory deficits have less of an effect on their daily lives. .

      Psychoeducation, counseling and psychological support to the patient and his environment it is also essential, as it is a complicated situation in which the existence of information about what is happening to the individual is fundamental to understanding his situation.

      At the pharmacological level, they can use various psychotropic drugs such as antidepressants or even certain antipsychotics to control symptoms.

      Bibliographical references:

      • Sants, JL; Garcia, LI; Calderon, MA; Sanz, LJ; of rivers, P .; Left, S .; Román, P .; Hernangómez, L .; Navas, E .; Lladre, A and Álvarez-Cienfuegos, L. (2012). Clinical Psychology. CEDE PIR preparation manual, 02. CEDE. Madrid.

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