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 diseases 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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Behaviors Seen In Parkinsons Disease Dementia
As dementia progresses, managing disorientation, confusion, agitation, and impulsivity can be a key component of care.
Some patients experience hallucinations or delusions as a complication of Parkinsons disease. These may be frightening and debilitating. Approximately 50 percent of those with the disease may experience them.
The best thing to do when giving care to someone experiencing hallucinations or delusions from Parkinsons disease dementia is to keep them calm and reduce their stress.
Take note of their symptoms and what they were doing before they exhibited signs of hallucinating and then let their doctor know.
This element of the disease can be particularly challenging for caregivers. Patients may become unable to care for themselves or be left alone.
Some ways to make caregiving easier include:
- sticking to a normal routine whenever possible
- being extra comforting after any medical procedures
- limiting distractions
- using curtains, nightlights, and clocks to help stick to a regular sleep schedule
- remembering that the behaviors are a factor of the disease and not the person
Parkinsons has four main symptoms:
- Tremor in hands, arms, legs, jaw, or head
- Muscle stiffness, where muscle remains contracted for a long time
- Slowness of movement
- Impaired balance and coordination, sometimes leading to falls
Other symptoms may include:
What Causes Parkinsons Disease: Genetics
Looking at genetics instead, about Parkinsons disease, there is great interest in trying to find out which gene is responsible for the majority of cases of the disease. Studies of homozygous twin pairs were conducted between 1969 and 1983 by several groups of researchers. These independent research results revealed that genetic factors played a weak if not small role in the causes of what causes Parkinsons disease. In recent years, however, some genealogies have been described in which the disease is transmitted in an autosomal way.
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Age And Genetic Factors Are Not Everything
The rate of Parkinsons disease globally has exceeded far faster than the population has aged according to the American Parkinson Disease Association.
Cases of the disease are up by several multiples over the past decades. From 1990 to 2015, the cases of the disease globally more than doubled, suggesting that there is far more at work. From 2015 to 2040, cases are expected to double once again. This is far higher than the rate of aging in the population.
Evidence Obtained Using Toxic Models Of Pd
Based on the above-mentioned observations, numerous groups have tested the effect of environmental toxins on animal and in vitro cellular models. The most common models used up to date are:
These have been extensively reviewed in the literature and we will briefly describe some of them here.
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Signs Of Parkinsons Disease
Parkinsons symptoms can be divided into two categories: motor symptoms and non-motor symptoms. Motor symptoms involve changes in how you move your body, and non-motor symptoms are other symptoms not related to movement. Both types of symptoms can be equally difficult to deal with. Until recently, doctors primarily focused on treating motor symptoms. Symptoms can vary in how severe they are from day to day you might feel better one day and worse the next, or even better in the morning and worse later in the day. Severity also depends on how effective your medications are.
Common Symptoms Of Parkinsons Disease
Here are some of the early signs and symptoms of Parkinsons disease that you need to be on the lookout for in deciding to see a healthcare professional who can provide medical advice.
- Lack of ability to write
- Slowed movement
- Low blood pressure
If you notice these, or other symptoms involving the nervous system, it is time to see a doctor. If you experience a sudden drop in the bodys ability to execute any of these tasks or control movements, it is a sign that something is wrong. Doctors may be able to give medications or other treatments that could improve symptoms.
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What Tests Will Be Done To Diagnose This Condition
When healthcare providers suspect Parkinsons disease or need to rule out other conditions, various imaging and diagnostic tests are possible. These include:
New lab tests are possible
Researchers have found possible ways to test for possible indicators or Parkinsons disease. Both of these new tests involve the alpha-synuclein protein but test for it in new, unusual ways. While these tests cant tell you what conditions you have because of misfolded alpha-synuclein proteins, that information can still help your provider make a diagnosis.
The two tests use the following methods.
- Spinal tap. One of these tests looks for misfolded alpha-synuclein proteins in cerebrospinal fluid, which is the fluid that surrounds your brain and spinal cord. This test involves a spinal tap , where a healthcare provider inserts a needle into your spinal canal to collect some cerebrospinal fluid for testing.
- Skin biopsy. Another possible test involves a biopsy of surface nerve tissue. A biopsy includes collecting a small sample of your skin, including the nerves in the skin. The samples come from a spot on your back and two spots on your leg. Analyzing the samples can help determine if your alpha-synuclein has a certain kind of malfunction that could increase the risk of developing Parkinsons disease.
Chemical That Triggers Parkinson’s Disease Discovered
- Saint Louis University
- The key brain chemical that causes Parkinson’s disease has been discovered. This is a breakthrough finding that could pave the way for new, far more effective therapies to treat one of the most common and debilitating neurological disorders.
Researchers at the Saint Louis University School of Medicine have discovered the key brain chemical that causes Parkinson’s disease – a breakthrough finding that could pave the way for new, far more effective therapies to treat one of the most common and debilitating neurological disorders.
Currently, the main approach for treating Parkinson’s disease, which afflicts more than 1.5 million Americans, is to replace dopamine that’s lost when the cells that produce it die off and cause the disorder. With this new research, however, scientists can better work toward ‘neuroprotective’ therapies – those that actually block dopamine cells from dying off in the first place.
“We believe this work represents a very significant breakthrough in understanding the complicated chemical process that results in Parkinson’s disease,” said William J. Burke, M.D., Ph.D., professor of neurology at the Saint Louis University School of Medicine and the study’s lead author.
“For the first time, we’ve identified the chemical that triggers the events in the brain that cause this disorder,” Burke added. “We believe these findings can be used to develop therapies that can actually stop or slow this process.”
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Physical Exam And Medical History
As a first step, your doctor will observe and ask you about the signs and symptoms youre experiencing.
If any of these symptoms began on one side of your body, or if you experience a tremor when your arm is at rest, Parkinsons may be strongly suspected.
Most likely, your doctor will also ask you about any other symptoms you may have, even if they seem unrelated.
How Is A Diagnosis Made
Because other conditions and medications mimic the symptoms of PD, getting an accurate diagnosis from a physician is important. No single test can confirm a diagnosis of PD, because the symptoms vary from person to person. A thorough history and physical exam should be enough for a diagnosis to be made. Other conditions that have Parkinsons-like symptoms include Parkinsons plus, essential tremor, progressive supranuclear palsy, multi-system atrophy, dystonia, and normal pressure hydrocephalus.
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Broader Environmental Factors May Also Be To Blame
While the research seems to support an association between well water and an increased risk of PD, the American Parkinson Disease Foundation points out that the interrelated nature of several environmental factors make it difficult to single out any one factor as solely responsible.
Those who drink private well water are more likely to live on a farm, be exposed to pesticides through other means, live in proximity to farm animals, and live in rural areas. In the end, epidemiologic data supports the assertion that each of these elements increases the risk of PD, the APDA explains.
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Treatment: Boosting Dopamines Effects
Your doctor might give you one of these, alone or with another drug:
- Dopamine agonists: They act like dopamine but donât raise levels of it in your brain. You can take them with any drug that has levodopa. You might try pramipexole or ropinirole .
- COMT Inhibitors: They help levodopa last longer. You might get entacapone or tolcapone .
- MAO-B inhibitors: These stop your brain from breaking down levodopa. You could get selegiline or rasagiline .
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Who Is Most At Risk Of Developing Parkinsons Disease After Coming Into Contact With Paraquat
None of us are immune from the health effects of toxic chemicals. What makes some of us more susceptible to developing one disease or another is not yet known, but likely it is a combination of our environment interacting with our genes.
People with a genetic predisposition for Parkinsons disease may be more affected by low level exposures to Paraquat, and therefore more likely to develop the disease, although many people have developed Parkinsons disease without a known genetic susceptibility.
Those at the greatest risk are people who most frequently use or are exposed to Paraquat, such as farmworkers and those who live in or near areas where large amounts of Paraquat are sprayed.
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Naturaltreatment For Parkinsons #6 Magnesium & Iodine:
Magnesium is vital for the health of the entire nervoussystem, especially the protective layer that surrounds the nerves . Magnesiumis also essential for the production of dopamine and helps protect dopaminergicneurons in the substantia nigra from degeneration. In addition to this, new evidence is showing that low levels of magnesium in the brain causes a build-up ofheavy metals a major factor in the development of Parkinsons, Alzheimers,epilepsy and MS. In a recent trial, 30 epileptics were given 450 mg ofmagnesium daily and this successfully controlled their seizures. Ifmagnesium can help epilepsy patients, it can certainly help Parkinsons sufferers. Worldrenowned magnesium expert and author, Dr Carolyn Dean, has both Parkinsons andAlzheimers disease in her top 55 health conditions caused by amagnesium deficiency list and says that magnesium is 100% essential for the preventionand treatment of both of these diseases Dr Carolyn Dean Interview
In regards to iodine, well-known researcher and author,Dr James Howenstein, says
Iodineis found in large quantities in the brain and the ciliary body of the eye. A lackof iodine may be involved in the production of Parkinsons disease andglaucoma.
Inthe brain, iodine concentrates in the substantia nigra, an area of the brainthat has been associated with Parkinsons disease.
David Brownstein M.D. 9
Best Sources of Magnesium and Iodine
-What Youll Need
1 cup of Magnesium Chloride Flakes
1 cup of Distilled Water
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Pesticide And Herbicide Exposure
A strong link has been shown between PD and exposure to pesticides and herbicides. We need more Parkinsons-specific research to better understand what causes PD and to work to prevent it and help eliminate the risk of getting the disease, when it comes to all environmental risk factors and whether genetics can cause an increased risk in developing Parkinsons.
One herbicide that has been linked to Parkinsons is paraquat, a widely used commercial herbicide in the U.S. that is banned in 32 countries, including the European Union and China. The Parkinsons Foundation, along with the Unified Parkinsons Advocacy Council, signed two letters to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency encouraging them to cancel the registration of paraquat based on strong scientific research linking the herbicide to Parkinsons disease. In October 2020, the EPA re-approved paraquat for use in the U.S. Without additional action, paraquat will remain legal for sale and use in the U.S. for the next 15 years.
Environmental Toxins Linked To Parkinsons
New Studies Support Link Between Chemicals and Parkinsons Disease
Researchers say the findings support evidence of a possible link between environmental toxins and Parkinsons disease and may help explain why some people with genetic risk factors for the disease get it while others do not.
Parkinsons disease is a common neurological disorder that can occur randomly or as the result of inherited gene mutations.
In the study, which appears in Current Biology, researchers looked at fruit flies lacking both forms of a gene that is associated with the inherited form of Parkinsons disease. These specially bred fruit flies became extremely sensitive to the herbicide paraquat and the insecticide rotenone and died after exposure.
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Diagnosis Of Parkinsons Disease
There are currently no blood or laboratory tests to diagnose non-genetic cases of Parkinsons. Doctors usually diagnose the disease by taking a persons medical history and performing a neurological examination. If symptoms improve after starting to take medication, its another indicator that the person has Parkinsons.
A number of disorders can cause symptoms similar to those of Parkinsons disease. People with Parkinsons-like symptoms that result from other causes, such as multiple system atrophy and dementia with Lewy bodies, are sometimes said to have parkinsonism. While these disorders initially may be misdiagnosed as Parkinsons, certain medical tests, as well as response to drug treatment, may help to better evaluate the cause. Many other diseases have similar features but require different treatments, so it is important to get an accurate diagnosis as soon as possible.
Clinicopathological Correlation In Parkinsons Disease
PD is traditionally defined by a series of clinical symptoms. These are predominantly motor disorders that give rise to the rigid-akinetic syndrome. PD is the main aetiology of rigid-akinetic syndromes. Nevertheless, non-motor symptoms are widely distributed in PD patients.
Braaks staging of Parkinsons disease pathology progression. Illustrations showing the intracerebral progression of PD pathology. Schematics of the pathology progression from the ENS. Correlation between PD staging and the appearance of the pathology in different intracerebral structures. Modified from Braak et al. .
Corresponding to structural alterations, there are motor and non-motor symptoms in iPD. The onset of motor features correlates with the loss of dopamine input to the posterior putamen, corresponding to the motor region of the striatum. The main classical features of PD are therefore mainly related to the dysfunction of the motor circuit. As the disease progresses and the loss of dopaminergic neurons increases, the dopaminergic input to other areas of the striatum and the cortex decreases, giving rise to clinical symptoms characteristic of the dysfunction of higher cerebral structures.
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Exposure To Toxic Pollutants Can Activate Genes Implicated In Parkinsons
In his talk, Convergent Mechanisms of Environmental Toxicant-Induced Parkinsons Disease, Greenamyre discussed the mechanisms by which these exposures lead to disease.
Research by his lab and colleagues has shown that exposure to toxic pollutants can activate genes implicated in Parkinsons. Once active, these genes can further enhance the toxicity of the pollutants.
While blocking the activity of these genes could help dampen the impact of toxic pollutants, the main strategy to lessen the risk of Parkinsons is to avoid exposure to these pollutants in the first place, according to Greenamyre.
Despite this evidence, the use of paraquat has doubled in the past five years, Dorsey noted in his talk. Contrary to initiatives to ban its use in several countries, including China, the U.S. recently re-approved its use in the country.
While the use of TCE has dropped, it is still found in groundwater. Moreover, it can evaporate into the air, spreading into peoples homes, schools, and workplaces undetected. According to the press release, 7,300 TCE contamination sites were found in Michigan alone.
The Netherlands, which placed measures to reduce air pollution and pesticide use in the past century, is currently the only industrialized country showing evidence of a decrease in Parkinsons.
In general, people are exposed to a multitude of chemicals, with certain jobs, such as farming, putting workers at higher exposure risk.
How Can You Tell If Its Parkinsons Disease
Doctors will base a diagnosis on a persons symptoms, including the order in which they appear. Some conditions that resemble Parkinsons disease cause unrelated symptoms in the early stage and do not produce Parkinson-like symptoms until they have progressed.
Other conditions manifest Parkinson-like symptoms early but also cause other symptoms that are not typical of Parkinsons disease.
Diagnosing NPH involves medical tests in addition to an assessment of symptoms. Because NPH is due to poor drainage of cerebral spinal fluid, other diagnostic tools are necessary. These may include:
- physical examination
The combination of carbidopa and levodopa sells under the brand name Sinemet.
Other medications may include:
- dopamine agonists, such as pramipexole , which trigger the production of dopamine in the brain
- amantadine to decrease involuntary movements
- various classes of enzyme inhibitors, which slow enzymes that break down dopamine
- anticholinergic drugs, such as trihexyphenidyl , which decrease tremors and muscle rigidity by blocking acetylcholine, a brain chemical involved in movement
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