Semantic dementia; Dementia - semantic; Frontotemporal dementia; Arnold Pick's disease
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.
The early personality changes can help doctors tell Pick's disease apart from Alzheimer' s. (Memory loss is often the main, and earliest, symptom of Alzheimer's.)
People with Pick's disease tend to behave the wrong way in different social settings. The changes in behavior continue to get worse and are often one of the most disturbing symptoms of the disease. Some patients will have more prominent difficulty with decision making, complex tasks, or language (trouble finding or understanding words or writing).
General symptoms are listed below.
The doctor will ask you about your medical history and symptoms.
Your health care provider might order tests to help rule out other causes of dementia, including dementia due to metabolic causes. Pick's disease is tentatively diagnosed based on symptoms and results of tests, including:
A brain biopsy is the only test that can confirm the diagnosis.
Knopman DS. Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. In: Goldman L, Ausiello D, eds. Cecil Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007:chap 425.
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