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What Is The Difference Between Lewy Body Dementia And Parkinson’s

Are There Medicines To Treat Dlb

The differentiation between Lewy body and Parkinson’s disease dementia

Though there is no cure for DLB yet, there are medications that help manage the symptoms. These medications are called cholinesterase inhibitors, and they can help if a person with DLB is having memory problems. Some examples of these medicines are donepezil, rivastigmine and galantamine. If a person with DLB has movement symptoms they may be treated with medications used for Parkinsons disease, such as levodopa. Sleep problems may be managed by sleep medications including melatonin.

Because people with DLB are usually very sensitive to medications, any new medication, even one that is not being used for the brain, needs to be reviewed with the persons provider to avoid potential contraindication.

Building A Lewy Body Dementia Care Team

After receiving a diagnosis, a person with LBD may benefit from seeing a neurologist who specializes in dementia and/or movement disorders. Your primary doctor can work with other professionals to follow your treatment plan. Depending on an individual’s particular symptoms, physical, speech, and occupational therapists, as well as mental health and palliative care specialists, can be helpful.

Support groups are another valuable resource for people with LBD and their caregivers. Sharing experiences and tips with others in the same situation can help people find practical solutions to day-to-day challenges and get emotional and social support.

Lewy Body Dementia Research

Many avenues of research are being explored to improve our understanding of LBD. Some researchers are working to identify the specific differences in the brain between the two types of LBD. Others are looking at the disease’s underlying biology, genetics, and environmental risk factors. Still other scientists are trying to identify biomarkers , improve screening tests to aid diagnosis, and research new treatments.

Scientists hope that new knowledge about LBD will one day lead to more effective treatments and even ways to cure and prevent the disorder. Until then, researchers need volunteers with and without LBD for clinical studies.

NIH and other groups help people learn about clinical trials and studies and find research opportunities near them. Visit the following websites for details:

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Managing Sleep Disorders In Lewy Body Dementia

Sleep problems may increase confusion and behavioral problems in people with LBD and add to a caregiver’s burden. A physician can order a sleep study to identify any underlying sleep disorders such as sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome, and REM sleep behavior disorder.

REM sleep behavior disorder, a common LBD symptom, involves acting out one’s dreams, leading to lost sleep and even injuries to individuals and their sleep partners. Clonazepam, a drug used to control seizures and relieve panic attacks, is often effective for the disorder at very low dosages. However, it can have side effects such as dizziness, unsteadiness, and problems with thinking. Melatonin, a naturally occurring hormone used to treat insomnia, may also offer some benefit when taken alone or with clonazepam.

Excessive daytime sleepiness is also common in LBD. If it is severe, a sleep specialist may prescribe a stimulant to help the person stay awake during the day.

Some people with LBD have difficulty falling asleep. If trouble sleeping at night persists, a physician may recommend a prescription medication. It is important to note that treating insomnia and other sleep problems in people with LBD has not been extensively studied, and that treatments may worsen daytime sleepiness and should be used with caution. Sleep problems can also be addressed by avoiding lengthy naps, increasing daytime exercise, and avoiding caffeine, alcohol, and chocolate late in the day.

Deficits In Attention/executive Functions

Lewy Body Diseases

In the domain of attention/executive functions, DLB patients performed significantly worse on digit span backward and MCST than PDD patients. In 2014, Yoon et al. also found that the attention/executive domain is more affected in DLB compared to PD even in the mild cognitive impairment stage. A recent neuroimaging study showed that numbers of categories achieved and perseverative errors in the Wisconsin Card Sorting Test should be differentially estimated, because they reflect the function of different brain regions in patients with early dementia , i.e. categories achieved mainly reflect the function of the precentral segments, whereas perseverative error scores correlate with metabolic activity in the right thalamus.

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Whats The Difference Between Lewy Body Dementia Parkinsons Disease And Alzheimers Disease

Lewy body dementia is an umbrella term for two related clinical diagnoses: dementia with Lewy bodies and Parkinsons disease dementia. These disorders share the same underlying changes in the brain and very similar symptoms, but the symptoms appear in a different order depending;on where the Lewy bodies first form.

Dementia with Lewy bodies is a type of dementia that causes problems with memory and thinking abilities that are severe enough to interfere with everyday activities. It specifically affects a persons ability to plan and solve problems, called executive function, and their ability to understand visual information. Dementia always appears first in DLB. The motor symptoms of Parkinsons such as tremor, slowness, stiffness and walking/balance/gait problems usually become more evident as the disease progresses. Visual hallucinations, REM sleep behavior disorder, fluctuating levels of alertness and attention, mood changes and autonomic dysfunction are also characteristic of DLB.

Finally, Alzheimers is characterized by different abnormal clumps called amyloid plaques, and jumbled fiber bundles called tau tangles. These microscopic structural changes in the brain were discovered by Dr. Alois Alzheimer in 1906. These plaques and tangles, together with loss of connections between nerve cells, contribute to loss of coherence and memory, as well as a progressive impairment in conducting normal activities of daily living.

What Is The Link Between Parkinsons And Lewy Body Dementia

Being Patient: Are Parkinsons disease and Lewy body dementia related?

Dag Aarsland:;Yes, theyre related in terms of symptoms and the brain changes. Many scientists consider Parkinsons and Lewy body dementia as a continuum of disease rather than two separate diseases. But there are very active and lively discussions about that. There are arguments for separating and combining them, but there are many similarities.

Being Patient: Do you group Lewy body dementia with Parkinsons disease in your research?

Dag Aarsland:;From a research point-of-view, we try to separate them. We identify the specifics and categorize patients in different groups and study them carefully in order to see how they relate. In clinical practice, its different. I also see patients with Parkinsons and unfortunately, many of them develop dementia and hallucinations or memory problems. In clinical practice, its very much the same challenges for patients, carers and the doctor in terms of findings and the right therapy.

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Dementia With Lewy Bodies Without Parkinsonism

I agree with the proposal of new criteria for the diagnosis and management of dementia with Lewy bodies . Previous criteria did not adequately differentiate DLB from Parkinson disease with dementia as outlined in the article’s accompanying editorial.

Lewy body disease includes PD and DLB, thus there should be DLB without parkinsonism as well as PDD. The new criteria outlined four core clinical features: fluctuating cognition with pronounced variations in attention and alertness; detailed, recurrent visual hallucinations; REM sleep behavior disorder, which may precede cognitive decline; and one or more spontaneous cardinal features of parkinsonism including bradykinesia, rest tremor, or rigidity. According to this criteria, a patient who has the first three clinical features but does not have parkinsonism may be diagnosed as DLB.

Braak et al. proposed that brainstem synucleinopathy progresses rostrally to affect the substantia nigra, which may cause parkinsonism. . However, these described patterns of synucleinopathy are not often observed in DLB, especially when synucleinopathy occurs in the absence of parkinsonism. Braak et al.’s hypothesis would indicate that visual hallucinations are a result of occipital dysfunction. Meanwhile, attention and alertness are due to frontal dysfunction, which does not necessarily follow Braak’s hypothesis. In addition, DLB patients with predominantly frontal dysfunction may not have parkinsonism.

Treatments For Parkinsons Disease Dementia And Dementia With Lewy Bodies

Difference between Dementia with lewy bodies and Parkinson”s

Treatments for DLB are similar to PDD and are aimed at symptom control. The motor symptoms of slowness, stiffness and walking difficulties can be treated with Levodopa. However, Levodopa can cause or exacerbate hallucinations, making it difficult to use it as a treatment for patients who have or are at risk of having hallucinations. Sometimes, clinicians will need to treat the hallucinations more aggressively in order for a patient to tolerate Levodopa given to help the motor symptoms. On the flipside, anti-psychotic medications to control hallucinations can worsen motor symptoms, so treating all the symptoms of LBD simultaneously can be a tricky balancing act.

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How Is Lewy Body Dementia Diagnosed

There isn’t one test that can diagnose LBD. It is important to see an experienced doctor to get a diagnosis. This would usually be specialist such as a neurologist. The doctor will

  • Do a medical history, including taking a detailed account of the symptoms. The doctor will talk to both the patient and caregivers.
  • Do physical and neurological exams
  • Do tests to rule out other conditions that could cause similar symptoms. These could include blood tests and brain imaging tests.
  • Do neuropsychological tests to evaluate memory and other cognitive functions

LBD can be hard to diagnose, because Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease cause similar symptoms. Scientists think that Lewy body disease might be related to these diseases, or that they sometimes happen together.

It’s also important to know which type of LBD a person has, so the doctor can treat that type’s particular symptoms. It also helps the doctor understand how the disease will affect the person over time. The doctor makes a diagnosis based on when certain symptoms start:

  • If cognitive symptoms start within a year of movement problems, the diagnosis is dementia with Lewy bodies
  • If cognitive problems start more than a year after the movement problems, the diagnosis is Parkinson’s disease dementia

Is Lewy Body Dementia An Inherited Condition

One of the more recent discoveries toward identifying a cause of Lewy body dementia is the finding of an increasing number of gene mutations. Two genetic risk factors recently discovered are variants in the APOE and GBA genes. APOE is already known to increase the risk of developing Alzheimers disease. There is growing evidence that it also increases the risk for dementia with lewy bodies. Similarly, the GBA gene increases the risk for both Parkinsons disease and dementia with lewy bodies. Despite these findings, genetic changes as a cause of LBD are still considered rare by scientists. Most cases of Lewy body dementia are not thought to be inherited.

Genetic testing for routine screening for LBD is not currently recommended. Discuss the pros and cons of testing with your healthcare providers if you have a family history of multiple members with Parkinsons disease and/or dementia with lewy bodies.

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Clinical Features And Diagnostic Criteria Of Dlb

Table 1 Clinical overlap and dissimilarities between dementia with Lewy bodies and Parkinson disease with dementia

Supporting clinical features for the diagnosis of probable or possible DLB are repeated falls, syncopes, hyposmia, severe autonomic dysfunction, hypersomnia, hallucinations in non-visual modalities, apathy, depression, and severe sensitivity to antipsychotic agents . However, since these changes also occur in advanced PD, they cannot differentiate DLB from PDD, e.g., the prevalence of neuroleptic sensitivity does not differ significantly between them .

A diagnosis of clinically probable DLB requires two or more core clinical features to be present, with or without indicative biomarkers, or the presence of only one core clinical feature but with one or more indicative biomarkers . Although the diagnostic specificity of these criteria is high , the sensitivity can be low , improving with additional supporting features such as biomarkers . A recent meta-analysis reported a pooled sensitivity, specificity, and accuracy of 60.2% , 93.8% , and 79.7% , respectively, for the diagnostic criteria of DLB . Thus, currently, approximately 20% of DLB diagnoses are incorrect .

Summarizing The Difference Between Parkinson’s Disease And Lewy Body Dementia

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Because Parkinson’s disease and Lewy body dementia are both caused by the presence of Lewy bodies in the brain and result in similar symptoms, it can be confusing to understand the difference. Here’s a quick summary:

Lewy body dementia is a blanket term referring to dementia caused by the presence of Lewy bodies. There are two types of Lewy body dementia:;

  • Dementia with Lewy bodies
  • Parkinson’s disease dementia

Parkinson’s disease is a progressive brain disorder that impacts movement, coordination and balance. The term Parkinson’s disease doesnt imply that dementia is present, and not all patients with Parkinson’s get dementia. However, those who have Parkinson’s are almost six times more likely to develop cognitive impairment compared to those of the same age without Parkinson’s. People with Parkinson’s disease who develop dementia are said to have Parkinson’s disease dementia.

At this time, there’s no prevention or cure for Parkinson’s disease and Lewy body dementia. Doctors can recommend treatments and therapies to help ease symptoms and improve quality of life.

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The Difference Between Lewy Body Dementia And Alzheimers

Being Patient: How is Lewy body dementia different from Alzheimers disease?

Dag Aarsland:;When a pathologist looks into the brain of someone with Lewy body disease versus Alzheimers, they see different changes. More importantly, for patients and carers, Lewy body disease often causes behavioral symptoms, whereas its more common for Alzheimers to cause memory or language problems. With Lewy body disease, we also have memory and language problems, but there are a lot of other symptoms which are also very problematic. These include psychiatric symptoms such as hallucinations, motor symptoms that are similar to those we see in Parkinsons disease, very specific sleep disorders and a whole list of other changes. Its a more complex symptom presentation for these patients.

Being Patient: Some people have been diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimers only to find out they have Lewy body dementia. Alzheimers can be diagnosed with a PET scan or spinal tap by looking at the presence of beta-amyloid plaques or tau tangles in the brain. Does Lewy body dementia present itself similarly to Alzheimers in the initial stages?

Demographic And Clinical Characteristics

The demographic and clinical characteristics of both groups are presented in table 1. There were no significant intergroup differences regarding age, education, MMSE and MMP scores, and gender, as expected due to the matching procedure, but PDD patients showed a significantly longer disease duration than DLB patients.

Table;1

Demographic and clinical characteristics of the DLB and PDD groups

Of the PDD patients, 6 had hallucinations at the time of testing , compared to 10 of the DLB patients .

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Who Gets Parkinson’s Disease Dementia

No two cases of Parkinson’s are exactly alike, so it’s hard to say for sure who will develop Parkinson’s disease dementia and who will not. However, researchers have identified several factors that may increase a person’s risk for Parkinson’s disease dementia, including:

  • Older age, especially at the time Parkinson’s symptoms began
  • Being a man
  • Advancing to late-stage Parkinson’s disease
  • Experiencing visual hallucinations
  • More severe motor symptoms
  • Having a history of dementia in your family

People with Parkinson’s disease may wish to consider planning for their future sooner rather than later, especially if they have certain risk factors or notice cognitive changes. That way, if their cognitive symptoms progress, their advance planning can help dementia caregivers best fulfill their wishes.

People usually live an average of five to seven years with the disease, but the prognosis of Parkinson’s disease dementia can vary from person to person.

What Does Lewy Body Dementia Look Like

What is lewy body dementia?

Lewy body dementia affects a persons ability to think and process information and it can negatively impact memory and alter personality. Though it shares aspects of other forms of dementia, there are distinct hallmarks of LBD. Lewy body dementia symptoms include:

  • Fluctuating attention/alertness: These shifts can last hours or go on for days. The person may stare into space, appear lethargic or drowsy, and have hard-to-understand speech, appearing a lot like delirium. At other times, the person may have much more clarity of thought.
  • Visual hallucinations: Often, these are very detailed hallucinations and visions of people or animals, and they can recur.
  • Movement disorders: Parkinsons-like movement issues, such as muscle rigidity, tremors, falls, or a shuffling gait or way of walking, may occur.

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What Are The Parkinson’s Disease Dementia Criteria

Many people with Parkinson’s disease experience cognitive changes , but not all of them develop full-blown dementia. So at what point does Parkinson’s disease cause dementia?

On average, Parkinson’s disease dementia happens about 10 years after a person first starts having movement problems.

“It happens many, many years after someone has developed Parkinson’s,” Lynda Nwabuobi, MD, assistant professor of clinical neurology at Weill Cornell Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders Institute, tells Health. “It can be around 10 to 15 years.”

In fact, if someone shows signs of dementia early on in their Parkinson’s diagnosis , it could be that they were misdiagnosed out of the gate. “They might have dementia with Lewy bodies,” Dr. Nwabuobi explains.

Timing is the main factor in Lewy body dementia versus Parkinson’s disease dementia. While the two can look very similar, the dementia symptoms occur before motor symptoms in Lewy body dementia, and in Parkinson’s disease the reverse is true.;

“If you look at the brain, it’s difficult to distinguish them,” Dr. Litvan says. “But clinically, they are different.”

Dementia With Lewy Bodies And Parkinson Disease Dementia

, MD, PhD, Department of Neurology, University of Mississippi Medical Center

Dementia with Lewy bodiesParkinson disease dementia

Dementia is chronic, global, usually irreversible deterioration of cognition.

Dementia with Lewy bodies is the 3rd most common dementia. Age of onset is typically > 60.

Lewy bodies are spherical, eosinophilic, neuronal cytoplasmic inclusions composed of aggregates of alpha-synuclein, a synaptic protein. They occur in the cortex of some patients who have dementia with Lewy bodies. Neurotransmitter levels and neuronal pathways between the striatum and the neocortex are abnormal.

Lewy bodies also occur in the substantia nigra of patients with Parkinson disease, and dementia may develop late in the disease. About 40% of patients with Parkinson disease develop Parkinson disease dementia, usually after age 70 and about 10 to 15 years after Parkinson disease has been diagnosed.

Because Lewy bodies occur in dementia with Lewy bodies and in Parkinson disease dementia, some experts think that the two disorders may be part of a more generalized synucleinopathy affecting the central and peripheral nervous systems. Lewy bodies sometimes occur in patients with Alzheimer disease, and patients with dementia with Lewy bodies may have neuritic plaques and neurofibrillary tangles. Dementia with Lewy bodies, Parkinson disease, and Alzheimer disease overlap considerably. Further research is needed to clarify the relationships among them.

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