Genes Causative Of Other Neurodegenerative Diseases
As DLB may clinically and pathologically resemble Alzheimers or Parkinsons diseases, speculation as to whether AD- or PD-causing genes may also be involved in the pathogenesis of DLB prompted the study of these genes in small cohorts of mainly sporadic DLB cases. However, due to the phenotypic similarities between diseases, it is still unclear whether the mutations identified play a role in DLB or simply occur in misdiagnosed cases. This issue is complicated further by the heterogeneity of phenotype that can be associated with some of these mutations .
Is There Treatment Available
At present there is no cure for Lewy body disease. Symptoms such as depression and disturbing hallucinations can usually be reduced by medication. However, medications to relieve hallucinations may increase muscle tremors and stiffness. Conversely, anti-Parkinson drugs may make hallucinations worse.
Emerging evidence suggests that cholinesterase inhibitor drugs may be quite helpful for some people with this condition.
People with this form of dementia are very sensitive to the side effects of neuroleptic drugs such as antipsychotic medications. It is essential all medications are supervised by a specialist to avoid these severe side effects.
Is Dementia Passed On Through Our Dna
Medical research seems to suggest that it is very unlikely that dementia can be passed on through our DNA. But in rare cases, some diseases that lead to dementia can be passed on through our DNA. But it is still extremly rare that if a family member such as a parent or grandparent has developed one of the many different kinds of dementia, that their children will inherit the disease at some stage in their life.
This is not to say that somebody with Alzheimers cannot have not passed on the disease from parent to child. It is possible they could have. In some rare cases of Alzheimers, the disease can be inherited from a parent. But this is very rare.There is a group of four genes a person can carry that can lead to a greater risk of Alzheimers. With 3 of the four genes being responsible for early onset dementia in people in their 30s, 40s and 50s with the other gene being responsible for Alzheimers in older people, usually over 65 years of age.
In the majority of cases of Alzheimers the disease is mostly associated with old age. Most cases are diagnosed with people in their 70s and 80s which is often referred to as Senile dementia.
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Lewy Body Dementia Signs And Symptoms
Symptoms of Lewy body dementia include a progressive cognitive decline that interferes with daily activities, unpredictable changes in attention and alertness, visual hallucinations, and motor symptoms similar to those of Parkinsons disease such as slow movements, rigidity, difficulty walking, tremors or shaking, balance issues, and a loss of coordination. The disease affects thinking, behavior, movement, and mood. People with LBD may also experience depression, anxiety, and sleep disorders.
Early signs of LBD may start mild and progress to become more severe. Due to the severity and progression of symptoms, LBD ultimately leads to a loss of independence, requiring individuals with the disease to receive increasing levels of personal assistance and caregiving over time.
What Can I Expect If I Or My Loved One Have A Diagnosis Of Lewy Body Dementia
Each persons experience with Lewy body dementia is unique to them. How slowly or quickly the disease progresses is impossible to know, but may be influenced by your general health and any existing diseases you may have. Because LBD is a progressive disease, difficulties with mind and body functions get worse over time. Currently, there is no known way to stop the progression of the disease. After diagnosis, most people with LBD live between five and seven years. Some people with LBD live up to 20 years after their diagnosis.
However, theres always hope. Research on LBD, dementia with lewy bodies, Alzheimers disease, Parkinsons disease with dementia are ongoing. New medications are being developed and new approaches to treatment are being investigated.
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Common Symptoms Of Lewy Body Dementia
The disease of Lewy Body Dementia affects cognitive response, changes physical and sleep pattern along with changing behavioral features. Some people may start developing the disorder in movement in the initial stage that further leads to dementia. This is often termed as Parkinsons disease dementia.
Another group of people may start developing cognitive disorder with two or more distinctive features of dementia. There are very few people that come up with neuropsychiatric symptoms. These include hallucinations, behavioral problems, and complex mental activities.
Generic symptoms of Lewy Body Dementia include:
- Impaired thinking like loss of execution, planning, processing and/or ability to understand visual information
- Fluctuation in alertness, attention, and cognition
- Sudden tremors, stiffness, and difficulty in walking
- Changes in bodily functions like blood pressure, temperature regulation bowel and bladder function.
Is Lewy Body Dementia Hereditary & What Is The Life Expectancy Of A Person With Lewy Body Dementia
Most patients suffering from Lewy Body Dementia prefer visiting a primary care physician at the initial stage. Diagnosing the disorder can be a real problem if the symptoms grow severe.
There are many families that have been affected by Lewy Body Dementia . However, it has been seen that very few individuals and even medical professionals are aware of the diagnostic criteria and symptoms. Some even dont have the idea whether or not the disease exists. Therefore, you should know about Lewy Body Dementia not only to save yourself but also your loved ones, families and friends. Lewy body dementia is a type of progressive dementia that comes only after Alzheimers disease dementia.
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Treatment And Care For Lewy Body Dementia
While LBD currently cannot be prevented or cured, some symptoms may respond to treatment for a period of time. An LBD treatment plan may involve medications, physical and other types of therapy, and counseling. A plan to make any home safety updates and identify any equipment can make everyday tasks easier.
A skilled care team often can suggest ways to improve quality of life for both people with LBD and their caregivers.
Movement Problems And Lewy Body Dementia
Some people with LBD may not experience significant movement problems for several years. Others may have them early on. At first, movement symptoms, such as a change in handwriting, may be very mild and easily overlooked. Movement problems may include:
- Muscle rigidity or stiffness
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What Were The Results
The results were organised into what is called a Manhattan plot, a type of graph that resembles the densely packed New York skyline. Each skyscraper in this graph represents a genetic marker that the researchers tested. The tallest represent the factors that are most strongly linked to DLB.
Dr Guerreiro said:
These results offer us, for the first time, a way to start to differentiate DLB from Alzheimers and Parkinsons from the most relevant perspective their molecular basis.’
Drs Guerreiro and Bras discovered four genetic factors that are linked to people developing DLB. This finding has been welcomed as a breakthrough since it shows that DLB is a genetically unique disease. DLB will no longer be assumed to be caused by a mixture of the genetic risk factors for Alzheimers and Parkinsons.
DLB has not been researched as much as Alzheimers disease and this study is a big step forward. It highlights our commitment to funding research to understand and treat all forms of dementia. Genetic factors like these can increase risk of developing DLB, but you can reduce the risk of developing dementia by making lifestyle changes such as staying active, keeping up social interactions and not smoking.
What Complications Are Associated With Medications Used To Treat Lewy Body Dementia
Up to 50% of people living with Lewy body dementia can have severe side effects when treated with certain antipsychotic medications. These are known as the typical or traditional antipsychotics and include such drugs as thoridazine, haloperidol, chlorpromazine and perphenazine. This class of older, first-generation antipsychotics can cause sedation and make cognitive symptoms and movement problems worse. A life-threatening reaction to an antipsychotic medication, called neuroleptic malignant syndrome, is possible. Symptoms include rigid muscles, changing blood pressure, high fever, confusion and fast heart rate. Contact your healthcare provider immediately if you or your loved are taking an antipsychotic and develop these symptoms.
Visual hallucinations and behavioral changes may be treated with the newer, atypical antipsychotic medications pimavanserin , quetiapine or clozapine . However, because all antipsychotic medications both older, typical medications and newer atypical medications can increase the risk of death in elderly patients with dementia, you and your healthcare provider should carefully discuss the risks and benefits and using these medications.
Other medications, like antidepressants or sedative antihistamines, may increase confusion in people with LBD.
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Lewy Body Dementia Risk Factors
The exact cause of Lewy body dementia is unknown but genetic, environmental, and lifestyle factors may play a role. Recent research has found specific genetic mutations that may increase an individuals risk of developing LBD. However, the disease typically occurs without any known family history, so LBD is not known to be hereditary.
Age is considered the main risk factor with the onset of symptoms typically occurring at age 50 or older, though symptoms may occasionally appear earlier. When it comes to gender, men are slightly more likely to develop the disease than women.
What Is Lewy Body Dementia
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Lewy body dementia is a brain disorder that can lead to problems with thinking, movement, behavior, and mood. Visual hallucinations, or seeing things that are not there, are a common symptom, and tend to happen early on.
More than 1 million people in the United States are diagnosed with LBD, which is one of the most common forms of dementia. It is a progressive disease, meaning symptoms start slowly and worsen over time.
Although younger people can have LBD, it typically begins at age 50 or older. People with LBD live on average five to eight years but may live as few as two years or as long as 20 years from the time of diagnosis to death. How fast symptoms develop and change varies depending on the persons overall health, age, and level of symptoms.
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Dementia With Lewy Bodies
|Other names||Diffuse Lewy body disease, dementia due to Lewy body disease|
|Microscopic image of a Lewy body in a neuron of the substantia nigra scale bar=20 microns|
|After the age of 50, median 76|
|Variable average survival 4 years from diagnosis|
|Frequency||About 0.4% of persons older than 65|
Dementia with Lewy bodies is a type of dementia characterized by changes in sleep, behavior, cognition, movement, and regulation of automatic bodily functions. Memory loss is not always an early symptom. The disease worsens over time and is usually diagnosed when cognitive impairment interferes with normal daily functioning. Together with Parkinson’s disease dementia, DLB is one of the two Lewy body dementias. It is a common form of dementia, but the prevalence is not known accurately and many diagnoses are missed. The disease was first described by Kenji Kosaka in 1976.
The Link To Parkinsons Disease
Most people with Parkinsons disease have Lewy bodies in their brains. Its these clusters that cause some or all of the motor symptoms of Parkinsons disease, as well as memory or cognitive problems, visual hallucinations, and problems with alertness.
We rarely know if a living patient has Lewy bodies with certainty, however. Its not until an autopsy that they can be seen, says Liana Rosenthal, M.D., assistant professor of neurology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. If we see Lewy bodies in someones brain during an autopsy, thats considered a pathologic certainty of Parkinsons disease, she says.
As with Parkinsons, Lewy body dementia is associated with a depletion of certain neurotransmitters in the brain. These are:
- Dopamine: This neurotransmitter helps transmit signals that control muscle movement. When the accumulation of Lewy bodies blocks dopamines production and transmission, the result is the hallmark movement issues of Parkinsons disease.
- Acetylcholine: This neurotransmitter does its work in the parts of the brain responsible for memory, thinking and processing. When Lewy bodies build up in these areas, they interfere with acetylcholine, causing symptoms of dementia.
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Treating Movement Symptoms In Lewy Body Dementia
LBD-related movement symptoms may be treated with medications used for Parkinson’s disease, called carbidopa-levodopa. These drugs can help make it easier to walk, get out of bed, and move around. However, they cannot stop or reverse the disease itself. Side effects of this medication can include hallucinations and other psychiatric or behavioral problems. Because of this risk, physicians may recommend not treating mild movement symptoms with medication. Other Parkinson’s medications are less commonly used in people with LBD due to a higher frequency of side effects.
People with LBD may benefit from physical therapy and exercise. Talk with your doctor about what physical activities are best.
Medical Research On Is Dementia Hereditary
Researchers believe that dementia is caused by diseases that are a result of the lifestyle they lead. Rather than developing dementia from the DNA that they have inherited from their parents.
Some conditions that can lead to diseases of the brain in later life can be inherited. Diseases such as Huntingtons are inherited diseases and other forms of dementia such as frontotemporal dementias have a greater risk of being inherited from parent to child by as much as 50%.
In generalmost dementias such as Alzheimers disease and Vascular dementiaare not inherited diseases and are a consequence of the lifestyles we choose to lead. Much more evidence is still needed to confirm this research.
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Will I Inherit Dementia From My Parents Is It Hereditary
If youre caring for a relative living with dementia, its natural to be concerned about whether or not you or your children will develop the disease. In reality, there are actually different kinds of dementia and most of them are not hereditary.
Read on to learn about the common types of dementia, and what the chances are for people with relatives diagnosed with dementia to develop the disease.
What Is The Life Expectancy Of A Person With Lewy Body Dementia
Unfortunately, there is no proper cure when it comes to Lewy Body Dementia. People who are suffering from Lewy Body Dementia can be expected to live for a further 5 to 8 years. However, this solely depends on the age, the severity of the symptoms of Lewy Body Dementia and other medical conditions. Actually, the severity of Lewy Body Dementia varies across people. The situation may become worse through improper medications, infections, and another underlying disease. In most cases, other forms of dementia have a specific pattern. However, this is a special type of dementia that does not follow any pattern. Generally, death occurs from pneumonia or other illness. The fact is theres no specific treatment or cure to prevent the course of Lewy Body Dementia.
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Lewy Body Dementia Treatment Options
There is currently no cure for Lewy body dementia or therapies to stop or slow its progression. Treatments such as medications, counseling, and physical, occupational, and speech therapies aim to manage symptoms.
Doctors may prescribe medications to treat the cognitive, psychiatric, and motor symptoms of LBD while others may prescribe medication commonly used to treat Parkinsons disease to help with motor issues. Side effects of these medications can include psychiatric and behavioral problems, so the risks must be weighed against the benefits.
A safe living environment, equipment that makes daily tasks easier, and a skilled care team will help improve the quality of life of an individual with this disease. The prognosis for Lewy body dementia is similar to that of Alzheimers and Parkinsons. The average survival time after diagnosis is about eight years but can range from two to 20 years.
What You Need To Know
- Lewy body dementia is a form of progressive dementia that affects a persons ability to think, reason, and process information.
- Diagnosing Lewy body dementia can be challenging an estimated 1.4 million Americans are living with the disease.
- LBD has three features that distinguish it from other forms of dementia:
- Fluctuating effects on mental functioning, particularly alertness and attention, which may resemble delirium
- Recurrent visual hallucinations
- Parkinson-like movement symptoms, such as rigidity and lack of spontaneous movement.
Lewy bodies are clumps of abnormal protein particles that, for reasons that are not fully understood, accumulate in the brain. These deposits cause a form of dementia called Lewy body dementia, or LBD which is what the late actor and comedian Robin Williams suffered from.
LBD is not the same as Parkinsons, but the two are closely related: LBD causes some or all of the motor symptoms of Parkinsons. More than 1 million people in the U.S. are affected by Lewy body dementia, according to the Lewy Body Dementia Association.