• Lewy Body Disease

    (Lewy Body Dementia; Dementia with Lewy Bodies)


    Dementia is the progressive loss of memory and various other mental functions, including the ability to learn, reason, and judge. Lewy body disease is associated with the build up of Lewy bodies in regions of the brain. These are abnormal protein deposits inside cells that control certain aspects of memory and motor control.
    Brain Cells
    Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.


    It is not clear exactly what causes the build up of Lewy bodies in the brain. But the disease is linked to:

    Risk Factors

    Factors that can increase your chance of developing Lewy body disease include:
    • Gender: male
    • Age: 53-83 years
    • Family history of Lewy body disease, Parkinson's disease, or other dementias


    Lewy body disease is characterized by:
    • Fluctuations in alertness and attention—frequent drowsiness, lethargy, staring into space, disorganized speech, and insomnia
    • Recurrent visual hallucinations
    • Poor regulation of body temperature and blood pressure
    • Obsessive compulsive behaviors
    • Forgetfulness
    • Parkinsonian motor symptoms—rigidity, loss of spontaneous movement
    • REM behavior disorder


    The only way to diagnose Lewy body disease is through an autopsy . A doctor can do tests to narrow the cause of dementia. You will be asked about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. Other tests may include:
    • Memory, language, and other tests
    • Neuropsychological tests
    • Patient and family interviews
    • You may need to have pictures taken of your bodily structures. This can be done with:
    • You may need to have your bodily fluid tested. This can be done with blood tests.


    While there is no cure for Lewy body disease, there are treatments that can control the symptoms. Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. Treatment options include:


    These medicines may be used to help with the symptoms:
    • Donepezil and rivastigmine—to help with cognition; may worsen motor symptoms
    • Memantine—to improve behavioral symptoms
    • Levodopa—to help control rigidity and loss of spontaneous movement
    • Antidepressants
    • Anticonvulsants
    If you have Lewy body disease, you may be sensitive to medicines called neuroleptics. You may have adverse events with these medicines.

    Other Treatments

    You may benefit from:


    There is no known way to prevent this condition.


    Lewy Body Dementia Association http://www.lewybodydementia.org

    National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke http://www.ninds.nih.gov


    Alzheimer Society http://www.alzheimer.ca

    Canadian Stroke Network http://www.canadianstrokenetwork.ca


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