Pick's disease is a rare neurodegenerative disease which causes brain cells to slowly shrink due to an excessive build-up of protein. The condition (which is commonly confused with Alzheimer's disease) causes the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain to deteriorate, affecting a person's speech and personality.
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Pick's disease is classified as a fronto-temporal dementia (FTD) but it accounts for only five per cent of all progressive dementias. Like other neurodegenerative conditions, such as Huntington's disease, Pick's disease is a result of a build-up of protein. This mass of abnormal brain cells, known as Pick's bodies, leads to character changes, socially inappropriate behaviour and poor decision-making. This subsequently has a negative impact on intellect, memory and speech.
Adults between the age of 40 and 60 are most at risk, with the condition more prevalent amongst women. Whilst the exact cause is still unknown, there appears to be a strong link to genetics.
What are the Symptoms of Pick’s disease?-
The frontal lobes in the brain affect behaviour and emotional responses. As a result, those with Pick's disease will usually show changes in personality before signs of dementia. The progression of Pick's is slow but symptoms will worsen over time.
Typical physical symptoms may include:
- Reduced quality of speech
- Uncoordinated speech
- Muscle rigidity
- Lack of coordination
- Urinary incontinence
- Memory lapses
Typical psychological changes may include:
How the Priory can help to treat Pick's disease-
The type and length of treatment is dependent on the individual's circumstances and the severity of the condition and the stage of the disease. The Priory provides services for those who require a more structured treatment approach which can include staying at one of the Priory hospitals for the duration of their treatment, where they take part in the psychological group programme as well as regular sessions with their consultant.
During the latter stages of the disease - where the emphasis moves towards more physical management, in-patient care is available. In some cases the individual may remain with the Priory until the end of their life. In these instances, the Priory endeavours to maximise their quality of life. Priory's specialist dementia staff are skilled at managing palliative care, supporting both the patient and family during this difficult time.