Lewy Body Dementia, or LBD, is the second most common cause of dementia after Alzheimer's disease.  It is not always considered parkinsonism.
 
In terms of affecting particular parts of the brain, LBD is characterized by an abnormal accumulation of alpha-synuclein protein in brain cells (synucleinopathy).
 

The Facts

  • Average onset is 50-80
  • Studies indicate that LBD accounts for 10-20% of all dementias; however no concrete data on prevalence is available at this time.
 

Symptoms Include

  • Parkinsonian symptoms including:  slowness, tremors, stiffness, stooped posture, etc
  • Dementia (preceding or within one year of onset)
  • Fluctuating cognition and alertness ("good" times vs "bad" times can fluctuate from day-to-day or moment-to-moment)
  • Vivid visual hallucinations that are not a side affect of medications
  • Sleep issues
  • Hypersensitivity to neuroleptic medications

 

Treatment

The Parkinsonian symptoms in LBD often respond to levodopa.  Similar to those with Alzheimer's, cognitive issues may be treated with cholinesterase inhibitors.  Of significant note is that both movement and behavioral symptoms can be severely (and gravely) aggravated by older anti-psychotics (ie: Haldol, Compazine and Reglan).

 


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