Dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) is a type of dementia that gradually worsens over time. Additional symptoms may include fluctuations in alertness, seeing things that other people do not, slowness of movement, trouble walking, and rigidity. Excessive movement during sleep and mood changes such as depression are also common.
The cause is unknown. There is typically no family history among those affected. The underlying mechanism involves the buildup of Lewy bodies, clumps of alpha-synuclein protein in neurons. It is classified as a neurodegenerative disorder. A diagnosis may be suspected based on symptom, with blood tests and medical imaging done to rule out other possible causes. The differential diagnosis includes Parkinson's and Alzheimer's.
There is no cure for DLB. Treatments try to improve mental, psychiatric, and motor symptoms. Acetylcholinesterase inhibitors, such as donepezil, may provide some benefit. Some motor problems may improve with levodopa. Antipsychotics, even for hallucination, should generally be avoided due to side effects.
DLB is the most common cause of dementia after Alzheimer's and vascular dementia. It typically begins after the age of 50. About 0.1% of those over 65 are affected. Males appear to be more commonly affected than females. In the late part of the disease people may depend entirely on others for their care. Life expectancy following diagnosis is around 8 years. The abnormal deposits that cause the disease were discovered in 1912 by Frederic Lewy.
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http://www.aafp.org/afp/2006/0401/p1223.html dementia with lewy bodies: an emerging disease doug neef, m.d., via christi family medicine residency, wichita, kansas anne d. walling, m.b., ch.b., university of kansas school of medicine,–wichita, wichita, kansasam fam physician. 2006 apr 1;73(7):1223-1229.