Atlanta, GA—05/3/16— Angela Taylor, Director of Programs for The Lewy Body Dementia Association(LBDA) recently addressed attendees at the National Institutes of Health’s 2016 Alzheimer’s Disease-Related Dementia (ADRD) Summit on the need for an open national dialog on changing the nomenclature frequently used to describe different forms of dementia. 

“Changing a lexicon isn’t easy, but it is extremely important” Taylor stated. LBDA and other patient advocacy organizations at the conference are calling for a much-needed change in dementia lexicon. The goal will be to identify and advance the needs of key audiences when referring to dementia in general, as well as the underlying causes of different dementias. When it comes to creating public awareness about the various causes of dementia and the stigma often experienced by those living with it, Taylor continued, “Words clearly matter.” 

Often the term ‘Alzheimer’s disease’ is used in place of the more general term ‘dementia’. While Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of dementia, it most often only one of several disease processes that underlie a person’s progressive decline in cognitive ability and independence. Often Alzheimer’s disease co-exists with changes in the brain associated with other disorders, frequently Lewy body dementia or vascular dementia. 

Scientific presentations at the ADRD Summit underscored the importance of recognizing when mixed causes of dementia are at play. There are expanding research efforts to improve the ability to detect mixed underlying disease pathologies. In the future, this can improve clinical diagnosis, which is vital for individuals with Lewy body dementia who often experience severe medication sensitivities not seen in people with Alzheimer’s disease. Ultimately with the development of disease-modifying drugs, physicians will be able to personalize treatment strategies, much like in cancer treatments seen today.

Watch Angela Taylor's March 29th address on LBDAtv, our YouTube page.