Arnold Pick and German neuropsychiatry in Prague

Arch Neurol. 1996 Sep;53(9):935-8. 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 We also review his original articles, the articles that subsequently established the entity of Pick disease, and historical documents pertaining to the continuation of German-language education in Prague after Prague's independence from the Austro-Hungarian monarchy.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 neurology.

Publication types

  • Biography
  • Historical Article
  • Portrait

MeSH terms

  • Atrophy
  • Austria
  • Brain / pathology*
  • Czechoslovakia
  • Dementia / history*
  • Dementia / pathology
  • Germany
  • History, 19th Century
  • History, 20th Century
  • Humans
  • Hungary
  • Neurology / history*
  • Neurons / pathology
  • Pathology / history
  • Psychiatry / history*

Personal name as subject

  • A Pick