Pick disease is a type of progressive, frontotemperol dementia which is clinically distinct from Alzeihemer’s disease. Common symptoms include psychiatric abnormalities, speech and language defects and symptoms of Parkinsonism. Compared to Alzeihemer’s disease, this condition occurs in a younger age group and runs a shorter course.
The Ayurvedic treatment of Pick disease is aimed at treating the symptoms and slowing down or halting the progress of the disease. Medicines like Brahmi (Bacopa monnieri), Mandukparni (Centella asiatica), Vacha (Acorus calamus), and Shankhpushpi (Convolvulus pluricaulis) are used to treat dementia. Medicines like Saraswatarishta, Brahmi-Vati, Panch-Tikta-Ghrut and Ashwagandharishta can also be used for this purpose. Medicines like Sarpagandha (Rauwolfia serpentina), Jatamansi (Nardostachys jatamansi), Khurasani ova (Hyoscyamus niger) and Jaiphal (Myristica fragrans) can be used to treat psychiatric symptoms, including aggression and mood disorders. Medicines like Vacha, Ashwagandha (Withania somnifera), Shatavari (Asparagus racemosus), Bala (Sida cordifolia) and Naagbala (Grewia hirsuta) are used to treat speech and language abnormalities. Incontinence can be treated using medicines like Agnitundi-Vati, Vish-Tinduk-Vati, Trayodashang-Guggulu, Maha-Rasnadi-Guggulu, Haritaki (Terminalia chebula), Bilva (Aegle marmelos), Gokshur (Tribulus terrestris) and Abhrak-Bhasma. Parkinsonism features can be treated using medicines like Dashmoolarishta, Maha-Rasnadi-Qadha, Rasna (Pluchea lanceolata), Shalparni (Desmodium gangeticum), Prushnaparni (Uraria picta) and Kapikacchu (Mucuna pruriens).
Most of the Ayurvedic Panchkarma procedures can be put to good use in the treatment of Pick disease. The entire body is massaged using medicated oils like Mahanarayan oil, Mahamash oil, Chandan-Bala-Laxadi oil and Mahasaindhav oil. This is followed by steam fomentation of the entire body using medicines like Dashmool-Qadha and Nirgundi-Qadha. Nasal therapy can be administered using medicines like Anu oil and Panchendriya-Vardhan oil. ‘Shirodhara’ is a procedure in which a continuous drip of medicated oil or milk is maintained on the forehead. A course of medicated enemas using Maha-Sahachar oil and Ksheer-Bala oil is also quite helpful. All the above mentioned procedures help to regulate the ‘Vat’ ‘dosh’, control symptoms and halt the progress of dementia.
General tonics like Suvarna-Malini-Vasant, Maha-Laxmi-Vilas-Ras, Makar-Dhwaj Ras, Abhrak-Bhasma and Trivang-Bhasma can be used to optimize the overall metabolism of the body and slow down the degeneration process; thereby indirectly slowing down the dementia process too. Medicines which act on the ‘Majja’ dhatu (tissue) like Guduchi (Tinospora cordifolia), Amalaki (Emblica officinalis) and Musta (Cyperus rotundus) can also be used for this purpose.
Since Pick disease is slowly progressive and can cause increased vocational and personal disability over time, the role of care takers is very important in the management of persons affected with this condition. Stress management, the teaching of behavioral techniques and day care referral should be given due importance.