Symptoms and Signs of Pick Disease

Medical Author:
Medically Reviewed on 10/29/2021

Doctor's Notes on Pick Disease

Pick disease (also termed frontotemporal dementia or FTD) is a syndrome that causes damage to mainly the frontal lobes of the brain. Symptoms and signs vary in individuals but, in general, are behavior changes and/or speech problems that slowly develop (start usually at ages 40-60) and progressively worsen. Behavior changes may include one or more of the following:

  • apathy,
  • depression,
  • dull emotions,
  • impulsiveness,
  • inappropriate/rudeness,
  • aggressive,
  • poor judgement,
  • paranoid,
  • selfish,
  • obsessive,
  • childish,
  • change in sexual behavior, and
  • others.

Speech problems vary from not finding the correct words and sentence disorganization to a reduction or cessation of speaking. The person may lose the ability to read, write, speak, or use sign language.

The cause of Pick disease is not known, However, in Pick disease, abnormal proteins termed Pick bodies are found in brain neurons. They swell and cease to function so the Pick bodies may play a role in the disease. Pick disease is similar to Alzheimer's disease in that it is progressive and can be devastating; unfortunately, neither are curable.

What Are the Treatments for Pick Disease (FTD)?

No drugs to date stop or reverse FTD. Doctors use several drugs, alone or in combination, to treat symptoms and to provide some neuroprotective aid. Doctors may use several of the following to treat FTD symptoms:

None of the above are specific for FTD. They are used by your doctors to provide, sometimes in theory only, reduced symptoms and, perhaps, provide a small measure of some neuronal survival for a short time.


Kasper, D.L., et al., eds. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 19th Ed. United States: McGraw-Hill Education, 2015.