Lewy body dementia (LBD) is a disease of the brain, characterized by a spectrum of symptoms affecting movement, cognition, behavior, sleep and autonomic function. Two related diagnoses make up the LBD spectrum: dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) and Parkinson’s disease dementia (PDD). Risk factors include older age (50+), REM sleep behavior disorder, pre-existing Parkinson’s disease and rare genetic mutations. While the cause of LBD is unknown, the signature pathology in the brain is the presence of Lewy bodies, which are microscopic deposits of misfolded alpha synuclein, a naturally occurring protein.
Research efforts are ongoing to determine why Lewy bodies form, how to identify LBD at its earliest stage, and what treatments are most effective.