Research Centers of Excellence | Lewy Body Dementia Association LBDA

Research Centers of Excellence


LBDA Research Centers of Excellence span a growing, nationwide network of top scientific facilities working to defeat LBD.

LBDA Research Centers of Excellence

See how some of the nation’s leading research and clinical care institutions are joining the LBDA in the fight against LBD.

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Clinical Trials

Help advance LBD research. Opportunities to participate are on the rise across the country. Find a study near you.

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Stay up-to-date on research news. Read our easy-to-understand summaries on important LBD research, as well as articles that highlight cutting-edge advances in diagnosis and clinical care.

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Participate in Research

Learn about the different types of clinical research being conducted and find tools to help you decide if a clinical trial may be right for you.

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Biogen’s Aducanumab Clinical Trial Results Revealed
Why are we sharing information about an Alzheimer’s study? Because most people with LBD also have some changes in the brain similar to Alzheimer’s disease.

Positive Results for the HARMONY Clinical Trial of Pimavanserin in Dementia-Related Psychosis
In December, ACADIA Pharmaceuticals, presented its top-line results from its Phase 3 HARMONY study. This was a clinical trial of a drug, pimavanserin, in people with dementia with recent hallucinations or delusions, including some people with LBD.

LBDA Scientific Outreach in 2019
The last few months of 2019 have been busy for LBDA. We've been working tirelessly to raise awareness and promote national discussion on Lewy body dementias. Learn about what we've been up to in this article.

LBD Caregiver Experience Differs between Spouses and Adult Children
Being a dementia caregiver can negatively affect a person’s psychological well-being. But what’s known about the impact of LBD caregiving? And how it might differ based on who is providing the care? Newly published data from this project reveals some unique needs between spousal and adult child LBD caregivers. The project was led by James Galvin, MD of Florida Atlantic University. Dr. Galvin is a member of LBDA’s Scientific Advisory Council and leads of 1 of LBDA’s 25 LBDA Research Centers of Excellence.

Updated LBD Research Recommendations Published
Every 3 years, a national research summit is held to update research strategies for non-Alzheimer’s dementias. This 2-day national event is one of 3 rotating annual summits held in response to the federal government’s national plan to address Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. Read the recommendations on advancing LBD research and improving dementia terminology from the 2019 summit, two key priorities for LBDA.

National Institutes of Health Award $14 million for LBD Research
People who have LBD plus changes in the brain associated with Alzheimer’s disease tend to have more aggressive disease progression. However, science has not yet explained why these two disease processes seem to have a synergistic effect.

Rate of Dementia Diagnosis Varies by Clinician Type and Patient Race/Ethnicity
A dementia diagnosis is an essential step to access to treatment, resources and services. But little is known about how most people are diagnosed, or how the diagnosis changes over time. A new study analyzed Medicare claims data to reveal the diagnosing physician types, how diagnosis changes over time, and how race, ethnicity and gender impact who receives a dementia diagnosis.

Treatment Study Halted Early Because of Promising Results
With all the recent news about failed clinical trials for disease-modifying treatments for Alzheimer’s disease, a little encouraging news is timely. ACADIA Pharmaceutical’s HARMONY study was halted after reaching its primary endpoints early.

LBD is the Most Expensive Dementia in America
Dementia is one of the most expensive diseases in the United States, increasing Medicare costs 3 times over the cost for those without dementia. New research from the University of California, San Francisco, suggests that LBD tops the chart as the costliest form of dementia.

NINDS: Hunting for an LBD Biomarker
Did you know that the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) plays a leading role in funding research on Lewy body disorders? Because LBD and Parkinson’s disease share the same underlying biology, NINDS added LBD to their Parkinson’s Disease Biomarker Program (PDBP). In 2019 NINDS awarded another $4.3 million in research funding for the study of biological indicators of LBD during life. Unfortunately, recruitment of volunteers for these studies is proving harder than expected. Without the involvement and commitment of more people from the LBD community, some studies could fail simply from low enrollment.

What Happened In Vegas WON'T Stay In Vegas
LBDA was in attendance at the International LBD Conference in Las Vegas, NV! Learn about some of the sessions given and the tracks available to participants.

Imaging Can Aid DLB Diagnosis Dementia Onset
Finding a definitive medical test that confirms the presence of Lewy bodies during life is still being hotly pursued by scientists. A new study out of the UK reveals one brain scan may be helpful in identifying DLB very early, during mild cognitive impairment (MCI).

Increased Hospitalization in DLB Compared to AD
Research suggests people with LBD may be more at risk for earlier and longer hospitalizations than people with Alzheimer’s disease.

A Great Beginning for the RCOE Program
While we are hard at work planning our second year of “excellence in LBD,” check out what’s happening behind the scenes in the LBDA Research Centers of Excellence (RCOE) program, the nation’s first-ever comprehensive network of academic research centers to conduct LBD clinical trials, provide community outreach, and expand professional continuing medical education.

Preparing LBD Families about End of Life
A new study highlights areas of additional guidance needed by Lewy body dementia (LBD) families as care recipients are nearing end of life.

Contact Sports Linked to Lewy Body Disease
Could playing contact sports increase the risk of developing LBD? A new study suggests that amateur and professional athletes who play contact sports are at greater risk of developing dementia, parkinsonism and have the presence of Lewy body (LB) disease pathology in the thinking areas of their brain.

Ask the Expert: Medical Marijuana – What Do We Know?
With many states legalizing the use of medical marijuana (compounds called cannabinoids), and some even making it legal for recreational use, you might be wondering if it would be beneficial to people with Lewy body dementias (LBD). In our newest Ask the Expert article, Dr. Carol Lippa, Director of the Division of Cognitive Disorders at Thomas Jefferson University and member of LBDA’s Scientific Advisory Council explains what research has revealed so far about the benefits or risks of using medical marijuana in disorders like LBD.

Is a Precision Medicine Approach the Key to Successful Dementia Clinical Trials?
Precision medicine is an emerging approach to providing medical care to individuals based on their unique genetic, environmental or lifestyle factors. A new atopsy study from investigators at University of Pennsylvania suggests that finding safe and effective treatments for dementia may require a precision medicine approach.

Lewy and Lumbar Punctures
A lumbar puncture, also called spinal tap, is a low-risk medical procedure that can be done in a doctor’s office. Learn why spinal fluid is so important in LBD clinical research studies.

Warning Signs: Who Progresses from REM Sleep Behavior to Lewy Body Disorders?
An unusual sleep disorder that makes people physically act out their dreams, called REM sleep disorder or RBD, is a known risk factor for LBD, Parkinson’s disease and multiple system atrophy. New research has identified additional symptoms that, when paired with RBD, suggest a Lewy body disorder is underway. Read more about it on the Neurology Advisor

Scientific Advance: Diagnosing LBD in Living Persons
Using a procedure called a lumbar puncture (or spinal tap), researchers can now diagnose two Lewy body disorders with a high degree of accuracy — dementia with Lewy bodies and Parkinson’s disease. While very encouraging, more research is needed to know if the test results during life will match brain autopsy results.

Epilepsy Treatment Shows Promise in DLB
Researchers in Japan published promising data on a Phase II clinical trial on an existing seizure medication in people with dementia with Lewy bodies. When used as an add-on treatment to levodopa, zonisamide improved motor symptoms in DLB without worsening psychiatric symptoms, a common side-effect in DLB. These findings require replication in a larger series of patients (i.e. Phase III trial), but suggest this medication may be potentially useful in a subset of DLB patients with motor symptoms that are less responsive to standard levodopa treatment

Research Advance: DLB Genetics Uniquely Different from Parkinson's
The first large-scale genome-wide association study was recently completed in people with dementia with Lewy bodies, hinting at unique genetic differences between DLB, Alzheimer's disease, and Parkinson's disease. The findings confirmed previously reported associations of variations in three genes that increase the risk of a person developing DLB. Those genes are APOE, SNCA and GBA. A new gene, CNTN1, was also identified as one that may increase risk of DLB.

Could a Skin Biopsy Diagnose LBD?
New research suggests skin biopsies may hold strong potential to help diagnose dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB).

Warning signs of LBD identified during mild cognitive impairment stage
Microscopic protein deposits, called Lewy bodies, are present in the brain long before a person has enough symptoms to be diagnosed with Lewy body dementia (LBD). A new study identifies symptoms closely associated with LBD before a person has dementia — during the mild cognitive impairment stage.

New Diagnostic Criteria Published for DLB
New criteria for diagnosing dementia with Lewy bodies now allows clinicians to combine both clinical symptoms with biomarker test results. This provides healthcare professionals greater flexibility for diagnosis of a disorder which presents in a variety of ways.

LBD Duration Shortens with Co-existing Alzheimer’s Disease
The rate of progression in Lewy body dementia (LBD) is hard to predict at the time of diagnosis. New research indicates the presence of a second neurodegenerative disease process, Alzheimer’s disease (AD), has an impact on one’s prognosis.

Symptoms Differ in Alzheimer's when Lewy Bodies are Present
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.

All Research Funding Announcements
Stay up-to-date on LBD-relevant funding opportunity announcements from federal agencies like the National Institutes of Health and Department of Defense.



2020 National Research Summit on Dementia Care, Caregiving, and Services
Tuesday, March 24 and Wednesday, March 25, 2020
National Institutes of Health
Natcher Conference Center
Building 45
Bethesda, Maryland 20894