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Compare and Contrast the Pathological Features of Alzheimer's Disease and Pick's Disease

  • Date Submitted: 02/04/2011 10:33 AM
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Compare and Contrast the Pathological Features of Alzheimer’s Disease and Pick’s Disease

Dementia has devastating effects on the central nervous system and is one of the most commonly encountered disorders in clinical neurology. The epidemiological of the most common dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, has long been known. However, retrospective autopsy studies have revealed that there are an increasing number of diseases that are responsible for dementia in addition to Alzheimer’s. Picks disease is a type of dementia that can be pathologically and clinically separated from Alzheimer’s, but it is often challenging to delineate the two due to numerous overlapping clinical and pathological features. This essay aims to compare and contrast the two diseases, but does not provide an exhaustive review. The individual pathological features of each disease are discussed separately before comparisons are made in order to provide a sufficient basis upon which more data can be added. More emphasis will be placed on differences between the two disorders rather than their similarities because this information has the greatest clinical value.

(1) Clinical Presentation

Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is the most common cause of dementia worldwide and is characterised by early memory and cognitive dysfunction. Pick’s disease (PiD) is a rarer form of neurodegenerative disease, occurring approximately one-tenth as often as Alzheimer’s, typically exhibiting early personality changes and reduction in functional activity. Even though both Alzheimer’s and Pick’s disease are types of cerebral cortical degeneration they exhibit somewhat different clinical symptoms.

Characteristically one of the first signs of Pick’s disease is behavioural abnormalities consistent with frontal lobe degeneration. Patients often demonstrate roaming, hyperoral and disinhibited behaviours, with decreased social propriety and impulsive sexual behaviour. In comparison, these behaviours are relatively infrequent...

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