Pick’s disease, a type of frontotemporal dementia, is a rare neurodegenerative disease that causes progressive destruction of nerve cells in the brain. Symptoms include dementia and loss of language (aphasia). While some of the symptoms can initially be alleviated, the disease progresses and patients often die within two to ten years. A defining characteristic of the disease is build-up of tau proteins in neurons, accumulating into silver-staining, spherical aggregations known as “Pick bodies”. (Source)
Differences from Alzheimer’s disease
In Alzheimer’s disease, all six isoforms of tau proteins are expressed. In addition, the presence of neurofibrillary tangles that are a hallmark of Alzheimer’s can be stained with antibodies to basic fibroblast growth factor, amyloid P, and heparan sulfate glycosaminoglycan.
Another difference is that in Pick’s disease, a personality change occurs before any form of memory loss, unlike Alzheimer’s, where memory loss typically presents first. This is used clinically to determine whether a patient is suffering from Alzheimer’s or Pick’s.