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Published on: November 26, 2014
by Digital Journal:
The recent news that the brain of actor/comedian Robin Williams showed signs of diffuse Lewy body disease has created more interest and coverage in this widely under-diagnosed condition than ever before.
However, it can be difficult for the lay person to understand this complicated disease, and the Lewy Body Dementia Association offers the following to clarify the confusion.
1. Lewy body dementias (LBD) are the most common form of degenerative dementia. The only other form of degenerative dementia that is more common than LBD is Alzheimer’s disease (AD).
2. LBD can have 3 common presentations:
Regardless of the initial symptom, over time all three presentations of LBD will develop very similar cognitive, physical, sleep and behavioral features, all caused by the presence of Lewy bodies throughout the brain.
3. The most common symptoms of LBD include:
4. The symptoms of LBD are treatable: All medications prescribed for LBD are approved for a course of treatment for symptoms related to other diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease with dementia and offer symptomatic benefits for cognitive, movement and behavioral problems.
5. Early and accurate diagnosis of LBD is essential: Early and accurate diagnosis is important because LBD patients may react to certain medications differently than AD or PD patients.
6. Traditional antipsychotic medications may be contraindicated for individuals living with LBD.
7. Early recognition, diagnosis and treatment of LBD can improve the patients’ quality of life.
8. Individuals and families living with LBD should not have to face this disease alone.
9. Physician education is urgently needed.
10. More research is urgently needed! Research needs include tools for early diagnosis, such as screening questionnaires, biomarkers, neuroimaging techniques, and more effective therapies.
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