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Alzheimer's or Lewy Body Dementia?

The author of The Tangled Neuron blog interviews Dr. Joseph Friedman of LBDA's Scientific Advisory Council and Angela Taylor of LBDA's Board of Directors in an effort to untagle the differencese between Lewy body dementias and Alzheimer's.  (This original source of this story is The Tangled Neuron blog.)

Alzheimer's or Lewy Body Dementia? (Part 1 of 3)

When someone like Harry Lewis (featured here in another story on The Tangled Neuron) is showing signs of dementia, we assume it’s Alzheimer’s. Books, movies and multimillion dollar celebrity-supported advertising campaigns have raised awareness of Alzheimer’s, but most of us don’t know anything about Lewy body dementias (LBDs). But maybe we should pay more attention to Lewy bodies:

  • 20 to 25 percent of people with dementia have dementia with Lewy bodies (Lewy Body Dementia Association estimate)
  • An estimated 30 percent of people with Alzheimer’s also have Lewy bodies in their brains at autopsy (Florida Brain Bank data presented at ICAD 2008)
  • Parkinson’s disease (which affects more than 4 million people worldwide) is also a Lewy body disorder. Almost everyone with Parkinson’s develops some problems with memory and thinking. Estimates of how many eventually develop full-blown “Parkinson’s Disease with Dementia” range from 33 to 78 percent.

Even though the percentage of dementia patients with Lewy bodies is high, this often goes undiagnosed.A few months later, Harry’s doctors changed his diagnosis to dementia with Lewy bodies.

These interviews continue and can be read at the links below:

 

 

Read Part 2 of this series - People with memory loss and their families are often frustrated with the difficulties doctors have in making a firm diagnosis.

 

Read Part 3 of this series - Lewy body dementias require specialized treatment.