Pick’s disease

Alternative Names

Semantic dementia; Dementia – semantic; Frontotemporal dementia; Arnold Pick’s disease

Definition of Pick’s disease

Pick’s disease is a rare and permanent form of that is similar to , except that it tends to affect only certain areas of the brain.

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

People with Pick’s disease have abnormal substances (called Pick bodies and Pick cells) inside nerve cells in the damaged areas of the brain.


The disease gets worse slowly. Tissues in the temporal and frontal lobes of the brain start to shrink over time. Symptoms such as behavior changes, speech difficulty, and impaired thinking occur slowly, but continue to get worse.

Signs and tests

The doctor will ask you about your medical history and symptoms.


There is no specific treatment for Pick’s disease. Certain antidepressants and antipsychotics may help manage mood swings related to Pick’s disease, but further research is needed.

Expectations (prognosis)

The disorder quickly and steadily becomes worse. Patients become totally disabled early in the course of the disease.


David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine; Luc Jasmin, MD, PhD, Department of Neurosurgery at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, and Department of Anatomy at UCSF, San Francisco, CA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc. – 3/28/2010

Central nervous system

ADAM Medical Encyclopedia

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