Research Links

We are entering an era of unprecedented opportunity for understanding and treating Lewy body dementia (LBD). Our newest white paper, Lewy Body Dementia: The State of the Science provides the LBD community an easy-to-read overview of key major findings to date in LBD research. The report also highlights a vast array of opportunities to drive research progress forward.

The use of antipsychotic medications in Lewy body dementias is a known challenge. Are the medications helpful and safe? A recent Parkinson’s disease study suggests there is reason for concern. However, new hope is on the horizon with the FDA’s approval of a new treatment for hallucinations in Parkinson’s disease.

Lewy body pathology is found in up to 50% of cases of late-onset Alzheimer’s disease, which can make it challenging for physicians to distinguish the underlying cause or causes of dementia symptoms. The diagnostic problem is compounded because Lewy bodies alone can result in Lewy body dementia.  

A new study shines new light on important clinical differences between people who have autopsy-verified Alzheimer’s disease pathology alone versus those who have both Alzheimer’s and Lewy bodies. Participants with Alzheimer’s and Lewy bodies had an earlier onset of dementia, earlier age at death, and a greater likelihood of being diagnosed with LBD during life.

They also experienced more neuropsychiatric symptoms, specifically delusions and hallucinations, as well as greater problems with movement. This suggests that the clinical traits of individuals with AD with Lewy bodies is probably similar to that of DLB. 

Dementia is often preceded by an earlier phase called mild cognitive impairment (MCI), where an individual is still able to live independently, but notices changes in at least one area of cognition, such as memory or language.

Drowsiness and daytime sleepiness are often described by individuals with dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) and their caregivers, even in the earliest stagest of DLB.

Donepezil has been approved in Japan to treat dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB).

An international panel of leaders in LBD research met recently to discuss research opportunities and challenges in the field of Lewy body dementias.

A small but encouraging new study suggests that a medication originally developed to treat dementia in Alzheimer’s may lead to longer survival for those with DLB.

The Lewy Body Dementia Association and the UK-based Lewy Body Society play an important role in reducing the burden that LBD places on families, according to an article included in a new series of LBD research papers published by the journal Alzheimer’s Research & Therapy.

A recent study showed that memantine, a medication commonly used for Alzheimer’s disease, improves two important areas of cognitive function in Lewy body dementia.

While new intervention drug trials are being launched in Alzheimer’s disease, Lewy body dementia (LBD) families still await any news about potential therapies that may someday halt the progression of Lewy body dementias. Cutting edge research demonstrates the potential of immunotherapy to slow or stop the development of Lewy bodies, the underlying disease process behind LBD.

The ability to predict disease progression helps physicians anticipate clinical care needs and allows families put their experiences into context. A new study reports on progression to 3 key milestones that have the greatest impact on individuals with Parkinson’s disease (PD): postural instability, onset of dementia, and mortality.

The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) presented 33 draft recommendations at its Parkinson's conference in January.

The 2014 federal funding bill includes $29.9 billion for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) - a $1 billion increase from 2013 funding levels.

Diagnosing dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) is challenging both for specialists and primary care physicians. A new composite risk score may aid in differentiating DLB from other forms of dementia.

There are only a few known risk factors for dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) to date, including advanced age and male sex. A new study compared for the first time the frequency of risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease in individuals with DLB.

A new study published in The Gerontologist examines caregivers’ experiences with stress and changes in mood and health, and compared their scores on days their relative attended Adult Day Services and days they provided most or all of the care.

06/18/2013 - In May, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) hosted a meeting to present recommended national research priorities for non-Alzheimer’s dementias. LBDA staff and board members, as well as members of the LBD community, attended the event to advocate on behalf of LBD.

Researchers at Georgetown University Medical Center have used tiny doses of a leukemia drug to halt accumulation of alpha-synuclein in the brains of mice. This finding provides the basis for clinical trials to study the effects in humans.

Research demonstrates that autonomic dysfunction predicts a shorter survival time in these disorders. Little is known about how autonomic dysfunction affects survival in Lewy body dementias. Read more on the latest study by Dr. Kajsa Stubendorff of Lund University in Sweden.

According to a new RAND Corporation study, the monetary cost of dementia in the United States ranges from $157 billion to $215 billion annually, making the condition more costly to the nation than either heart disease or cancer. 

A study by Tanis Ferman, PhD and colleagues at Mayo Clinic assessed the progression from mild cognitive impairment (MCI) to different forms of dementia. Read this latest study presented at the American Academy of Neurology meeting in March 2013.

REM sleep behavior disorder (RBD) is a condition that causes a person to physically act out their dreams and is a common in Lewy body dementia (LBD). New research indicates that the presence of RBD in a man with dementia is a strong indicator of Lewy body dementia over Alzheimer’s disease.

New research reveals the onset of visual hallucinations within five years of developing dementia increases the odds of pathology-confirmed Lewy body disease four to five times over Alzheimer’s disease. 

Lewy body pathology is found in the brains of 10 to 30 percent of older adults without any Parkinsonian motor symptoms and is called incidental Lewy body disease (ILBD). Research suggests that ILBD may represent a ‘preclinical’ stage of Parkinson’s disease (PD) that occurs before symptoms develop. 

Recent genetics studies of people with dementia and pathologically confirmed Lewy body disease is shedding light on how a person’s genes may influence their susceptibility to Lewy body dementias. A gene associated with a completely different disorder — Gaucher’s disease — may play a role.

New research indicates that the severity of Lewy body pathology in the cortex at autopsy and presence of the APOE4 gene variant were each associated with progression to dementia in PD

People with dementia often exhibit a ‘dropping off’ of cognitive abilities after surgery.  But the cause of this change in cognition is not fully understood.  New research out of the University of Pennsylvania, using mouse models of Alzheimer’s disease, indicates that inflammation, not anesthesia, may be the culprit.

New research reveals promise of another brain imaging technique to differentiate between dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) and Alzheimer’s disease (AD).