What is Picks disease?
Pick’s disease is a type of dementia that affects the frontal lobes of the brain. And as I write, no one knows what the cause is. But I hope, there are people out there working on finding this out. And learnt whilst researching this disease, that Robbie Savage’s (ex-professional Footballer) father died from Picks Disease recently.
To date, researchers have shown that a build-up of 2 types of protein – tau and amyloid – form clusters on parts of the brain, effectively stopping them working.
With Alzheimer’s disease, where different proteins are involved and drugs can be used such as Aricept, which helps slow down the clumping process and so delays the illness. No such drugs I believe are available for Pick’s disease.
Scientists also think that Pick’s disease is partly genetically caused, with the condition running in families. Pick’s disease is a rare form of dementia that is alike Alzheimer’s, but tends to affect only specific parts of the brain.
Named after Arnold Pick, a professor who discovered the disease in 1892, described it as causing a slow shrinking of brain cells due to excess protein build-up. Initially sufferers show marked personality and behavioural changes, and then memory loss with a decline in speech. And accounts for approximately 5% of all dementias and is frequently misdiagnosed in early stages as depression, mental illness, or Alzheimer’s.
There is NO cure, other than antidepressants to help manage the sufferer’s mood swings, and sufferers often die within 10 years.
Dementia Awareness Week
There are approximately 750,000 people, possibly more, living with dementia in the UK. So it is possible that you know of someone who is suffering or is affected by dementia. Dementia Awareness Week was held on 3-9 July 2011, and again in 2012 on 20-26 May in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Dementia Awareness Week will be held next year on 20-26 May 2013 the same date as this year.
In readiness, here are some helpful ways you can help someone with dementia:
Treat the person with respect. Focus on the person rather than the individual. Find enjoyable things to do and share with them.
Look through old photo albums and trying to recall all the interests/hobbies they had in the past.
Keep in touch and show you care. A phone call or letter will mean a lot to them. You could also help the person with their weekly shopping, or offer to cook for them.
Make time to listen. A person with dementia may want to talk about the problems they are experiencing and so a chat over a cup of tea would make a big difference.
Support the family. Dementia just doesn't affect the individual sufferer, so help out whenever you can - for example, offer to help out with childcare so they can visit their parent, or do work on their garden or organise a family day out.
Learn as much as you can about dementia, as this will help you when dealing with the sufferer.