Finding Suggests That Treatment For One Disease Could Work For The Other Two
- Loyola University Health System
- A study has found that abnormal proteins found in Alzheimers, Parkinsons and Huntingtons diseases share a similar ability to cause damage when they invade brain cells. The finding suggests that an effective treatment for one neurodegenerative disease might work for other neurodegenerative diseases as well.
A Loyola University Chicago study has found that abnormal proteins found in Alzheimers disease, Parkinsons disease, and Huntingtons disease all share a similar ability to cause damage when they invade brain cells.
The finding potentially could explain the mechanism by which Alzheimers, Parkinsons, Huntingtons, and other neurodegenerative diseases spread within the brain and disrupt normal brain functions.
The finding also suggests that an effective treatment for one neurodegenerative disease might work for other neurodegenerative diseases as well.
The study by senior author Edward Campbell, PhD, first author William Flavin, PhD, and colleagues is published in the journal Acta Neuropathologica.
A possible therapy would involve boosting a brain cells ability to degrade a clump of proteins and damaged vesicles, Campbell said. If we could do this in one disease, its a good bet the therapy would be effective in the other two diseases.
Campbell stressed the studys findings need to be followed up and confirmed in future studies.
Whats The Difference Between Progressive Supranuclear Palsy And Parkinsons
People with PSP generally progress more rapidly than people with Parkinsons. A person with Parkinsons tends to lean forward while a person with PSP tends to lean backward. Tremors are common in people with Parkinsons and rare in people with PSP. Speech and swallowing abnormalities are more severe and show up sooner in those living with PSP.
Symptoms Related To Brain Function Are Different
There is some overlap, but in general, the overall cognitive symptoms that people experience with Parkinsons disease dementia and Alzheimers are different. Alzheimers mainly affects language and memory at the outset, whereas Parkinsons affects problem-solving, speed of thinking, memory, and mood.6
Unlike in Alzheimers disease, people with Parkinsons-related dementia often experience hallucinations, delusions, and paranoid thoughts. Both conditions can lead to depression, anxiety, and sleep disturbances.4,6
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Dementia With Lewy Bodies
Initial cognitive deterioration in dementia with Lewy bodies resembles that in other dementias. However, dementia with Lewy bodies often manifests with early and prominent deficits in attention, executive function, and visuoperceptual ability; prominent or persistent memory impairment tends to occur as the dementia progresses.
Extrapyramidal symptoms occur. However, in dementia with Lewy bodies , cognitive and extrapyramidal symptoms usually begin within 1 year of each other. Also, the extrapyramidal symptoms differ from those of Parkinson disease; in dementia with Lewy bodies, tremor does not occur early, rigidity of axial muscles with gait instability occurs early, and deficits tend to be symmetric. Repeated falls are common.
Fluctuating cognitive function is a relatively specific feature of dementia with Lewy bodies. Periods of being alert, coherent, and oriented may alternate with periods of being confused and unresponsive to questions, usually over a period of days to weeks but sometimes during the same interview.
Memory is impaired, but the impairment appears to result more from deficits in alertness and attention than in memory acquisition; thus, short-term recall is affected less than digit span memory .
Patients may stare into space for long periods. Excessive daytime drowsiness is common.
Visuospatial and visuoconstructional abilities are affected more than other cognitive deficits.
The 5 Stages Of Parkinsons Disease
Getting older is underrated by most. Its a joyful experience to sit back, relax and watch the people in your life grow up, have kids of their own and flourish. Age can be a beautiful thing, even as our bodies begin to slow down. We spoke with David Shprecher, DO, movement disorders director at Banner Sun Health Research Institute;about a well-known illness which afflicts as many as 2% of people older than 65, Parkinsons Disease.
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Treatment Of Pdd And Dlb
Unfortunately, since both types of Lewy Body Dementia often display similar symptoms, patients suffering from either PDD of DLB can get misdiagnosed and subsequently prescribed the incorrect medication and method of treatment. Caregivers and medical professionals alike can increase their understanding of symptoms for each disease to help them more quickly and accurately diagnose and treat each one.
The Lewy Body Dementia Resource Center provides literature, support groups, and help for caregivers grappling with care and treatment of a loved one who has Lewy Body Dementia. Our helpline is available 12 hours a day, 7 days a week for caregivers who have questions or are in need of support. Our online resource center seeks to bring awareness and support to caregivers of those suffering with Lewy Body Dementia. Please dont hesitate to reach out to us.
Dont Smoke Lessen Alcohol Intake & Do Not Take Drugs
Even if you dont drink a lot, alcohol has a cumulative effect on your brain. One blackout after a drinking binge can induce life long memory loss. Over time, smaller amounts of alcohol will lead to blackouts and soon youll have a ton of lost time even though you barely drank one bottle of beer.
Smoking negatively affects memory by reducing the amount of oxygen that reaches the brain while repeated drug use kills your neurons and the rushes of dopamine reinforce drug dependence.
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Depression May Be An Early Symptom Of Parkinsons
Depression is one of the most common, and most disabling, non-motor symptoms of Parkinsons disease. As many as 50 per cent of people with Parkinsons experience the symptoms of clinical depression at some stage of the disease. Some people experience depression up to a decade or more before experiencing any motor symptoms of Parkinsons.
Clinical depression and anxiety are underdiagnosed symptoms of Parkinsons. Researchers believe that depression and anxiety in Parkinsons disease may be due to chemical and physical changes in the area of the brain that affect mood as well as movement. These changes are caused by the disease itself.
Here are some suggestions to help identify depression in Parkinsons:
- Mention changes in mood to your physician if they do not ask you about these conditions.
- Complete our;Geriatric Depression Scale-15;to record your feelings so you can discuss symptoms with your doctor. Download the answer key and compare your responses.
- delusions and impulse control disorders
Early Symptoms Of Parkinsons Can Be Overlooked
Symptoms of Parkinsons disease are divided into 2 groups: motor symptoms and non-motor symptoms.
Early non-motor symptoms can be subtle and its possible to overlook them as signs of Parkinsons: for example, anxiety and depression, fatigue, loss of smell, speech problems, difficulty sleeping, erectile dysfunction, incontinence and constipation. Another sign of Parkinsons is handwriting that becomes smaller.
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.
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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:
Living With Parkinson Disease
These measures can help you live well with Parkinson disease:
- An exercise routine can help keep muscles flexible and mobile. Exercise also releases natural brain chemicals that can improve emotional well-being.
- High protein meals can benefit your brain chemistry
- Physical, occupational, and speech therapy can help your ability to care for yourself and communicate with others
- If you or your family has questions about Parkinson disease, want information about treatment, or need to find support, you can contact the American Parkinson Disease Association.
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Theres A Spectrum Of Pathologies
Scientists have been examining this linkand how the two diseases often overlapfor some time, but still arent completely certain how they contribute to one another. As a result, physicians sometimes group the diseases into different combinations when making diagnoses.
Dementia in Parkinsons patients can present itself in varying forms. In some cases, the Parkinsons pathology can trigger the dementia pathologya situation that results in whats known as Parkinsons disease dementia, says Dr. Aaron Ritter, Director of the Clinical Research Program at the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health.
A substantial subset of folks with Parkinsons who live long enough, will develop dementia, Ritter said.Its separate from Alzheimers, but its likely related to Parkinsons pathology, a sort of spreading of Parkinsons.
In other cases, patients may develop a form of dementia like Alzheimers separately from their Parkinsons disease, though this isnt visible until after death, through an autopsy.
Many people with Parkinsons may also develop Lewy body dementia shortly after their diagnosis. When you have Parkinsons, and see cognitive declineor things like hallucinations and delusionsup to a year after your Parkinsons diagnosis, you may have Lewy body dementia, Oguh said.
Multiple System Atrophy Formerly Called Shy
As predicted by the name of this parkinsonism, multiple system atrophy affects multiple systems of the body. It affects both the motor skills movement system and the involuntary system of the body. Though the symptoms can often be treated with medications, there is no cure. In addition, there are no drugs that are able to slow the progress of MSA.
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Parkinsons Dementia Vs Alzheimers Dementia
According to experts, Parkinsons dementia can cause impaired physical activity and impacts motor skills. Two neurotransmitters called dopamine and serotonin tend to be damaged by Parkinsons.
In addition to causing issues with movement and coordination, this form of dementia can also cause a slower thought process and memory problems. This is usually less pronounced however, until the later stages of the disease.
With Alzheimers, two types of proteins in the brain, tangles and plaques , accumulate and kill brain cells. This Alzheimers-induced dementia affects memory, clear thinking, language skills, and orientation. It reduces comprehension, learning capacity, and judgement. Storing new information and memory retrieval are impacted more than motor skills.
Distinguishing between these neurodegenerative conditions is important to determine the best treatment approach. Medications for one of condition might create problems when given to a patient with the other condition.
Whats The Difference Between Vascular Parkinsonism And Parkinsons
As the name implies, vascular parkinsonism is caused by cerebrovascular disease which affects the blood supply to the brain. Vascular parkinsonism is caused by one or more small strokes, while Parkinsons is caused by a gradual loss of nerve cells. One major difference from Parkinsons is that its not progressive, while Parkinsons becomes worse with time. Another difference is that there are no tremors in vascular parkinsonism.
For more information on vascular parkinsonism, read this journal article.
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Whats The Difference Between Dementia With Lewy Bodies And Parkinsons
In dementia with Lewy bodies, dementia always appears first. There can also be changes in alertness as well as visual hallucinations. However, because of the presence of Lewy bodies throughout the entire brain, characteristics of this disease not only include cognitive characteristics, but also physical, sleep, and behavioral changes. As the disease progresses, the motor symptoms common to Parkinsons such as tremor, slowness, stiffness, and walking and balance problems will appear.
For more information on dementia with Lewy bodies, visit www.lbda.org.
What Is Lewy Body Dementia
Lewy body dementia is not a single disorder but rather a spectrum of closely-related disorders involving disturbances of cognition, behavior, sleep, movement and autonomic function.
In these progressive disorders, Lewy bodies build up in the brain. Lewy bodies in the brain stem cause a disruption in the production of chemical messengers called dopamine. Too little dopamine can cause parkinsonism, a clinical syndrome thats characterized by tremor, bradykinesia , rigidity and postural instability. Parkinsonism can be caused by Parkinsons disease itself as well as by other underlying neurological conditions such as LBD.; These Lewy bodies are also found throughout other areas of the brain, including the cerebral cortex. The neurotransmitter acetylcholine is also depleted, causing disruption of perception, thinking and behavior.
A German neurologist, Friederich H. Lewy, first discovered the abnormal protein deposits in the early 1900s as he was conducting research on Parkinsons disease.
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Causes And Risk Factors
PD is idiopathic, meaning that a doctor does not know why a person has the condition. However, according to Johns Hopkins Medicine, early-onset Parkinsons disease has links to genetic inheritance from a parent.
Researchers have identified several risk factors that may make a person with Parkinsons disease more likely to experience dementia.
These risk factors include:
- advanced age at time of diagnosis
- experiencing excessive daytime sleepiness
- hallucinations before the onset of other dementia symptoms
- having a specific Parkinsons symptom that causes a person to have difficulty starting to take a step or to halt mid-step while walking
- a history of mild thought impairment
- more severe movement impairment symptoms than most people with Parkinsons disease
However, researchers do not know why some people with Parkinsons disease develop cognitive difficulties as well as movement problems.
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.
What Are The Complications Of Parkinson Disease
Parkinson disease causes physical symptoms at first. Problems with cognitive function, including forgetfulness and trouble with concentration, may arise later. As the disease gets worse with time, many people develop dementia. This can cause profound memory loss and makes it hard to maintain relationships.
Parkinson disease dementia can cause problems with:
- Speaking and communicating with others
- Problem solving
- Paying attention
If you have Parkinson disease and dementia, in time, you likely won’t be able to live by yourself. Dementia affects your ability to care of yourself, even if you can still physically do daily tasks.
Experts don’t understand how or why dementia often occurs with Parkinson disease. Its clear, though, that dementia and problems with cognitive function are linked to changes in the brain that cause problems with movement. As with Parkinson disease, dementia occurs when nerve cells degenerate, leading to chemical changes in the brain. Parkinson disease dementia may be treated with medicines also used to treat Alzheimer’s disease, another type of dementia.
Pdd Vs Dementia With Lewy Bodies
Another type of dementia is called Dementia with Lewy Bodies , which has similar symptoms to PDD. DLB is associated with abnormal deposits of a protein called alpha-synuclein in the brain. Lewy bodies are also found in the brains of people diagnosed with PDD.
However, DLB is diagnosed when cognitive decline happens before the motor symptoms of Parkinsons, or when motor symptoms and cognitive decline occur and progress closely together.
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Early Signs And Symptoms Are Different
Parkinsons disease generally begins as a movement disorder. Early signs and symptoms include:2
- Tremor, which often begins in the hand or fingers
- Slowed movement, which may include foot dragging
- Slowed automatic movements such as blinking, smiling, and swinging your arms when you walk
Alzheimers disease generally begins as noticeable memory loss. Early signs and symptoms include:3,4
- Trouble remembering familiar words
- Challenges performing everyday tasks such as balancing a checkbook