Lewy body dementia (LBD) is a progressive brain disorder in which Lewy bodies, abnormal deposits of a protein called alpha-synuclein, build up in areas of the brain that regulate behavior, cognition, and movement.

This complex disease can present with a range of symptoms including tremors, stiffness, hallucinations, and alterations in sleep and behavior.i

Lewy body dementia is an umbrella term that includes two similar conditions: dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) and Parkinson’s disease dementia (PDD).i

DLB is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder characterized by the aggregation of Lewy bodies, which causes disruption in cognition, function and behavior. It is the second most prevalent cause of neurodegenerative dementia in elderly patients. There are no approved therapies for the treatment of DLB in the United States or Europe.ii

PDD is caused by changes in the brain that are linked to Parkinson’s disease in a region that plays a key role in movement. As Parkinson’s gradually spreads, it often begins to affect mental functions including memory and the ability to pay attention.iii

Patients with LBD often experienceii:

  • Visual hallucinations
  • Fluctuations in cognition, attention, and alertness
  • Sensitivity to neuroleptic (antipsychotic) medications
  • REM behavior disorder (RBD), in which people physically act out their dreams, impacting their quality of life and endangering their bed partners
  • Parkinsonism (movement disorder symptoms such as muscle rigidity and tremors)

References

  1. Lewy Body Dementia Association. What is LBD? https://www.lbda.org/category/3437/what-is-lbd.htm. Accessed August 16, 2017.
  2. Alzheimer's Association. Dementia with Lewy bodies. http://www.alz.org/dementia/dementia-with-lewy-bodies-symptoms.asp. Accessed August 16, 2017.
  3. Alzheimer's Association. Parkinson’s disease dementia. http://www.alz.org/dementia/parkinsons-disease-symptoms.asp. Accessed August 16, 2017.