Lewy Body Disease
all information

Lewy Body Disease

(Lewy Body Dementia; Dementia with Lewy Bodies)

En Español (Spanish Version)

Definition

Dementia is the progressive loss of memory and various other mental functions, including the ability to learn, reason, and judge. Lewy body disease is caused by the build up of Lewy bodies (abnormal protein deposits) inside brain cells that control certain aspects of memory and motor control. It is the second most common type of progressive dementia.

Brain Cells

Neurons

© 2008 Nucleus Medical Art, Inc.

Causes

It is not clear exactly what causes the build up of Lewy bodies in the brain, but Lewy body disease is linked to Parkinson's disease , multiple system atrophy , and other disorders.

Risk Factors

A risk factor is something that increases your chance of getting a disease or condition. The following factors may increase your risk of developing Lewy body disease:

  • Gender: male
  • Age: 53-83 years
  • Family history of Lewy body disease

Symptoms

Lewy body disease is characterized by:

  • Fluctuations in alertness and attention
    • Frequent drowsiness
    • Lethargy
    • Staring into space
    • Disorganized speech
    • Insomnia
  • Recurrent visual hallucinations
  • Poor regulation of body temperature and blood pressure
  • Obsessive/compulsive behaviors
  • Forgetfulness
  • Parkinsonian motor symptoms
    • Rigidity
    • Loss of spontaneous movement
  • REM behavior disorder

Diagnosis

The only way to diagnose Lewy body disease conclusively is through an autopsy. But a doctor can perform tests to narrow the cause of dementia. He or she will ask about symptoms and medical history, and perform a physical exam. Other tests may include:

  • Memory, language, and other tests
  • Formal Neuro-psychologic testing
  • Patient and family interviews
  • CT scan —a type of x-ray that uses a computer to make pictures of structures inside the body
  • MRI scan —a test that uses magnetic waves to make pictures of structures inside the body
  • Blood tests

Treatment

While there is no cure for Lewy body disease, there are treatments that can control its symptoms. Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. Treatment options include:

Medications

Medications such as donepezil and rivastigmine can help with many of the symptoms of Lewy body disease. However, donepezil and rivastigmine may worsen motor symptoms. Levodopa can be used to help control rigidity and loss of spontaneous movement. In addition, some people benefit from antidepressants and anticonvulsants.

Patients with Lewy body disease may be particularly sensitive to medications known as neuroleptics and may develop adverse events with these medications.

Other Treatments

Physical therapy, massage, exercise, music, and aromatherapy may benefit some people with this condition.

Prevention

There is no known direct prevention against Lewy body disease.

RESOURCES:

Lewy Body Dementia Association
http://www.lewybodydementia.org/

National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke
http://www.ninds.nih.gov/

CANADIAN RESOURCES:

Alzheimer Society
http://www.alzheimer.ca/

Canadian Stroke Network
http://www.canadianstrokenetwork.ca/

References:

Ballard CG, Chalmers KA, Todd C, McKeith IG, O'Brien JT, Wilcock G, et al. Cholinesterase inhibitors reduce cortical Abeta in dementia with Lewy bodies. Neurology . 2007;68:1726-1729.

Bouchard RW. Diagnostic criteria of dementia [review]. Can J Neurol Sci . 2007;34:(Suppl 1)S11-18.

Camicioli R, Gauthier S. Clinical trials in Parkinson's disease dementia and dementia with Lewy bodies [review]. Can J Neurol Sci . 2007;34:(Suppl 1)S109-117.

Chaudry, A, Khan, F. Dementia with Lewy bodies. In: Gilman S, ed. MedLink Neurology. San Diego, CA: MedLink Corporation. Available at: http://www.medlink.com . Accessed August 10, 2007.

Chou KL, Borek LL, Friedman JH. The management of psychosis in movement disorder patients [review]. Expert Opin Pharmacother . 2007;8:935-943.

Dementia. Health Library website. Available at: http://healthlibrary.epnet.com .

Dementia with Lewy bodies information page. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke website. Available at: http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/dementiawithlewybodies/dementiawithlewybodies.htm . Accessed June 25, 2007.

Goldmann Gross R, Siderowf A, Hurtig HI. Cognitive impairment in Parkinson’s disease and dementia with Lewy bodies: a spectrum of disease. Neurosignals. 2008;16(1):24-34.

Kemp PM, Hoffmann SA, Tossici-Bolt L, Fleming JS, Holmes C. Limitations of the HMPAO SPECT appearances of occipital lobe perfusion in the differential diagnosis of dementia with Lewy bodies. Nucl Med Commun . 2007;28:451-456.

Lewy body disease: LBD. Lewy Body Disease Association website. Available at: http://www.lewybodydementia.org/docs/brochure/3_brochure.pdf . Accessed June 25, 2007.

Tarawneh R, Galvin JE. Distinguising Lewy body dementias from Alzheimer’s disease. Expert Review of Neurotherapeautics. 2007;7:1499-1516.

Weintraub D, Hurtig HI. Presentation and management of psychosis in Parkinson’s disease and dementia with Lewy bodies. Am J. Psychiatry. 2007;164(10):1491-1498.



Last reviewed September 2008 by Rimas Lukas, MD

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.


Your Health and Happiness


DiggDeliciousNewsvineRedditStumbleTechnoratiFacebook