Pick’s Disease





Pick’s disease, sometimes referred to as frontotemporal dementia, is a cognitive impairment disturbance that involves shrinking or atrophy of the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain. This degenerative disorder is slowly progressive, with perceptible deteriorative effects on the affected person’s speech or language, personality and behavior.

Frontotemporal dementias, as a group, are the fourth leading cause of dementia in the United States. This group of degenerative brain disorders is said to account for approximately 15% of all cases of dementia. On a worldwide perspective, Pick’s disease occur commonly in European countries (especially the Scandinavian nations), and has an estimated frequency range of 7-40 cases per 100,000 people.

Pick’s disease, although frequently compared to Alzheimer’s disease, occurs in a much younger age group. It has been observed to have a peak incidence in individuals within the 55-65 age range.



Pick’s disease is generally the result of the accumulation of protein in the areas of the brain that are affected. Abnormal brain cells called Pick cells or Pick bodies contain an anomalous form of the protein, tau, which is found within all nerve cells. This causes the deterioration of the nerve cells, making them shrink. The shrinkage of the nerve cells is the reason for the manifestation of dementia symptoms.

Though the reason for the abnormality of the cells has not been really explained, scientists are checking a connection between this and the presence of abnormal genes. Thus, it has been hypothesized that genetics and heredity has a role in the existence of Pick’s disease.


Signs and Symptoms

Since Pick’s disease is a progressive condition, the extent of the symptoms gets increasingly worse as the tissues of the brain becomes more damaged with the shrinkage. This disease is characterized by both language and personality changes.

The early appearance of personality changes is the thing that differentiates Pick’s disease from Alzheimer’s disease. The list of symptoms in terms of behavioral changes includes:

  • Restlessness;
  • Being impulsive;
  • Becomes unsociable;
  • Having poor judgment;
  • Excessive eating or drinking;
  • Poor personal hygiene;
  • Sexual promiscuity or exhibitionism;
  • Reduced interest in the activities of daily living;
  • Repetitive or obsessive-compulsive behavior;
  • Regression in work and home function; and
  • Improper behavior in general.

Emotional changes that occur with Pick’s disease include:

  • Sudden mood swings;
  • Denial to ensuing behavioral changes;
  • Socially unacceptable moods;
  • Apathy or indifference;
  • Poor attention span; and
  • Symptoms that mimic depression.

Language changes that come with Pick’s disease include:

  • Deterioration in reading and/or writing skills;
  • Loss of vocabulary;
  • Difficulty in speaking and/or understanding spoken language;
  • Repetition of words or “echoing”;
  • Having difficulty in finding the right word to say;
  • Complete loss of speaking ability; and
  • Making feeble or inappropriate sounds.

Pick’s disease may also exhibit physical symptoms such as:

  • Rigidity in muscles;
  • Onset of memory loss;
  • Physical weakness;
  • Possible urinary incontinence; and
  • Difficulty or lack of movement and/or coordination.



There is no identified treatment for Pick’s disease yet. However, management of this disease will usually address the symptoms being presented. Medications addressing most of the behavioral and emotional changes include antidepressants and antipsychotics.

It is also important that other problems that can aggravate the signs and symptoms of Pick’s disease be addressed or treated so that condition will not be worsened, especially the memory loss.


Disability Tax Credits for Pick’s Disease

Pick’s disease is a condition that will hinder a person further as age progresses. Living with dementia, especially Pick’s disease, will affect the way you live your life. If you have been diagnosed with this condition, perhaps it is time to give HandyTax a call. Our friendly agents can give you a hand in filing your disability tax claims from the Canadian Revenue Agency.