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September 1996

Arnold Pick and German Neuropsychiatry in Prague

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Clinical Neurological Sciences, St Joseph's Health Centre, University of Western Ontario, London (Dr Kertesz), and the Department of Neurology, Postgraduate Medical School, Prague, Czech Republic (Dr Kalvach).

Arch Neurol. 1996;53(9):935-938. doi:10.1001/archneur.1996.00550090147021

Circumscribed focal atrophy with frontal lobe dementia and progressive aphasia, as described originally by Arnold Pick, has been recognized recently as being much more common than previously believed. Although Pick disease became linked with argyrophilic inclusions (Pick bodies) and swollen neurons (Pick cells), the majority of focal atrophies have findings that are a variation of the classic histologic features. We discuss Pick's background and the circumstances that led to his major contributions to the study of behavioral neurology. We also review his original articles, the articles that subsequently established the entity of Pick disease, and historical documents pertaining to the continuation of German-language education in Prague after Prague's independence from the Austro-Hungarian monarchy. Arnold Pick's life and career exemplify the integration of neurology, psychiatry, and neuropathology, which represents one of the major contributions of German neuropsychiatry to the study of the nervous system. Pick is a major intellectual ancestor of present-day behavioral neurology.

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