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 Newspaper article-- Re: Lewy Body Dementia 
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Joined: Sat Oct 06, 2007 4:28 pm
Posts: 743
Location: LA
Post Newspaper article-- Re: Lewy Body Dementia
I have been reading everything Dr Paul G. Dodohue has written as a column for several years in our local daily newspaper and each time he described dementia, the subject of Lewy Body Dementia was barely mentioned if at all. Until this week. I nearly jumped for joy when I read this article by him. We're getting there!!!

Alzheimer's Disease is only one cause of Dementia

BY PAUL G. DONOHUE, M.D.
2009-07-22 14:05:13
DEAR DR. DONOHUE: Three women who were in high school at the same time I was have died of Lewy body dementia. Do only women have it? No one I have talked to knows anything about it. I would appreciate any information you can provide. -- L.P.

ANSWER: Dementia is a decline in mental functioning. Memory loss is prominent. Simple arithmetic skills (balancing a checkbook), expressing oneself clearly and logically, and making rational judgments are greatly diminished in a person with dementia. "Dementia" is an umbrella word that covers the loss of these basic mental functions. Alzheimer's disease is the leading cause of dementia, but it is not the sole cause. Multiple small strokes, Binswanger's disease, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease and frontotemporal dementia are other causes. Second to Alzheimer's as a cause is dementia with Lewy bodies.

Lewy bodies, named in honor of the pathologist Dr. Friedrich Lewy, who first described them, are blobs of peculiar material within brain cells. They stain a striking color when special dye is applied to brain tissue viewed with a microscope. Somehow they bollix up brain function.

Definite proof of dementia with Lewy bodies rests on microscopic examination of the brain after death. However, some unique signs of this illness make it diagnosable during life. In addition to the symptoms of dementia, Lewy body patients often see things that aren't there -- visual hallucinations. They have symptoms found in Parkinson's disease -- muscle rigidity, slow movement, walking disturbances with frequent falls. Patients have fluctuating alertness, periods of lucidity intermixed with longer periods of utter confusion. Men as well as women get this illness.What causes it is a question that remains unanswered.

Sometimes drugs used for Alzheimer's disease improve symptoms of dementia with Lewy bodies. Parkinson's drugs are prescribed to lessen the features of that illness, but they do not work as well as they do in Parkinson's disease.
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DrP


Sat Aug 15, 2009 7:51 pm
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Joined: Fri Aug 11, 2006 1:46 pm
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Location: SF Bay Area (Northern CA)
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Thanks for posting this!

Obviously this is a very challenging disorder to diagnose during life. In the cases outside of our local support group where I've helped make the arrangements for brain donation, only half have had LBD on autopsy. Another family just got their report this week....it was not LBD. This was despite the absolute certainty of the neurologist, psychiatrist, and (very knowledgeable) family caregiver. The medical community needs to improve its diagnostic skills.


Sat Aug 15, 2009 9:29 pm
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Joined: Sat Oct 06, 2007 4:28 pm
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Location: LA
Post Then what?
Robin, do you know what the diagnosis was? If we judge the illness by the criteria we have, it is something. What? The symptoms by any other name are still behaving the same and responding to the treatment for what we believe to be best for LBD. With so many "it seemed like LBD", What is it?

DrP


Sat Aug 15, 2009 9:35 pm
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Joined: Fri Aug 11, 2006 1:46 pm
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Location: SF Bay Area (Northern CA)
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Nearly all have been Alzheimer's Disease with not one Lewy body to be found!


Sun Aug 16, 2009 2:07 am
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Joined: Sat Oct 06, 2007 4:28 pm
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Location: LA
Post Best plan
I suppose we should just plod along and give the best care possible for the symptoms and wait for the day when the post mortem test can be run so we will know. My very dear friend had alzheimer's and Mr B. is not like she was... at all. It is a puzzle! That's for sure.

DrP


Sun Aug 16, 2009 2:29 am
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