Pick’s Disease vs. Lewy Body Dementia

Dementia is a term that encompasses various brain disorders affecting memory, cognitive abilities, and daily functioning. Two specific types, Pick’s disease, and Lewy body dementia, may sound similar, but they have distinct characteristics. In this article, we will delve into the basics of these conditions, exploring their history, symptoms, and the financial aspects of their treatments.

The Origins

Pick’s Disease

Pick’s disease, also known as frontotemporal dementia (FTD), was first identified by the German psychiatrist Arnold Pick in the early 20th century. Pick observed distinct patterns of cell loss and abnormalities in specific brain regions, leading to the recognition of this unique form of dementia.

Lewy Body Dementia

Lewy body dementia (LBD) traces its roots back to the work of Dr. Friederich H. Lewy, who, in 1912, discovered abnormal protein deposits in the brains of Parkinson’s disease patients. Over time, these deposits were linked to cognitive decline, paving the way for the identification of Lewy body dementia as a separate entity.

The Symptoms

Pick’s Disease

Pick’s disease primarily affects the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain. This leads to noticeable changes in behavior, personality, and language skills. Common symptoms include:

Behavioral Changes: Sudden behavioral alterations, such as increased impulsivity, apathy, or social withdrawal.

Language Difficulties: Individuals may struggle with language comprehension, and fluency, or have difficulty finding the right words.

Emotional Blunting: Reduced emotional responsiveness and empathy.

Lewy Body Dementia

Lewy body dementia, on the other hand, involves abnormal protein deposits (Lewy bodies) in the brain, affecting multiple cognitive functions. Key symptoms include:

Visual Hallucinations: Seeing things that aren’t present, often vivid and detailed.

Fluctuating Cognitive Abilities: Periodic shifts in attention and alertness.

Motor Symptoms: Similar to Parkinson’s disease, including tremors and stiffness.

Early SignsPick’s DiseaseLewy Body Dementia
Behavioral ChangesIncreased impulsivity, social withdrawalFluctuations in attention, visual hallucinations
Language DifficultiesDifficulty finding words, comprehension issuesPeriodic language and memory difficulties
Emotional ResponsivenessReduced empathy and emotional expressionFluctuating emotional states
Visual HallucinationsNot typicalCommon, vivid and detailed
Motor SymptomsNot typicalTremors, stiffness similar to Parkinson’s disease

Navigating Treatment Costs

Understanding the financial implications of treating these conditions is crucial. While both Pick’s disease and Lewy body dementia lack a cure, various supportive measures can enhance the quality of life for patients. Here’s a basic comparison of potential costs:

Treatment AspectPick’s DiseaseLewy Body Dementia
Medication Costs (Annual)Approximately $2,000 – $4,000 USDAround $1,500 – $3,500 USD
Caregiver Support ServicesVaries based on location and needSimilar to Pick’s disease
Specialized TherapiesSpeech and behavioral therapiesOccupational and physical therapy

It’s important to note that these figures are approximate and can vary based on factors such as geographic location, severity of the condition, and individual healthcare plans.

Living with the Conditions

Pick’s Disease

Coping with Pick’s disease requires a comprehensive approach, involving support from caregivers and healthcare professionals. Families often find solace in:

Support Groups: Connecting with others facing similar challenges can provide emotional support and practical advice.

Professional Care: In advanced stages, residential care facilities may become necessary for comprehensive assistance.

Lewy Body Dementia

Living with Lewy body dementia involves addressing cognitive and motor symptoms. Strategies for managing daily life include:

Structured Environment: Establishing routines can help minimize confusion and improve stability.

Adaptive Technologies: Using tools and devices that aid daily activities, such as reminder apps and safety alarms.


In conclusion, Pick’s disease and Lewy body dementia may share the overarching label of dementia, but their distinct characteristics impact individuals in unique ways. While both conditions pose challenges, advancements in understanding and managing these disorders provide hope for improved care and support. If you or a loved one is facing symptoms related to dementia, seeking timely medical advice and support is crucial for a better quality of life.

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