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Is Parkinson’s Related To Dementia

Signs And Symptoms Of Pdd

Parkinson√Ęs Disease and Dementia: David Beversdorf, MD

Common signs and symptoms of Parkinsons disease dementia include:

  • Poor memory and concentration
  • Depression
  • Visual hallucinations

If youve noticed some of the above signs and symptoms in yourself or a loved one, its important to get them checked out. But dont jump to conclusions. People with Parkinsons often experience cognitive changes such as anxiety, lack of motivation, and slowed thinking. These symptoms do not automatically mean dementia.

What Causes Lewy Body Dementia

The causes of LBD are not yet well understood, but research is ongoing in this area. There are probably multiple factors involved, including genetic and environmental risk factors that combine with natural aging processes to make someone susceptible to LBD.

For more information, visit www.lbda.org.

Modified with permission from the Lewy Body Dementia Association

To learn more about motor symptoms related to Parkinsons, visit here.

To learn more about non-motor symptoms related to Parkinsons, visit here.

The Pathologies Are Different But Many Of The Symptoms Can Be Similar

We do know that the pathology is quite different between Parkinsons and dementia, said Dr. Odinachi Oguh, a neurologist at the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health. But the processes in which memory is impacted in both diseases is about the same.

From the pathology standpoint, both diseases are characterized by a neurodegenerative process, Oguh said. The neurodegeneration results in abnormal accumulation of protein, which builds up and becomes toxic to the brain.

Alzheimers, for example, affects memory areas of the brain, which include the temporal lobes, as well as the memory center, or hippocampus. Parkinsons, meanwhile, starts in the basal ganglia part of the brain, and as the disease progresses, it can also affect the memory center, resulting in forgetfulness, an early sign of Alzheimers or other forms of dementia.

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Early Signs And Symptoms Are Different

Parkinsons disease generally begins as a movement disorder. Early signs and symptoms include:2

  • Tremor, which often begins in the hand or fingers
  • Slowed movement, which may include foot dragging
  • Rigidity
  • Slowed automatic movements such as blinking, smiling, and swinging your arms when you walk

Alzheimers disease generally begins as noticeable memory loss. Early signs and symptoms include:3,4

Treatments For Parkinsons Disease Dementia And Dementia With Lewy Bodies

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Treatments for DLB are similar to PDD and are aimed at symptom control. The motor symptoms of slowness, stiffness and walking difficulties can be treated with Levodopa. However, Levodopa can cause or exacerbate hallucinations, making it difficult to use it as a treatment for patients who have or are at risk of having hallucinations. Sometimes, clinicians will need to treat the hallucinations more aggressively in order for a patient to tolerate Levodopa given to help the motor symptoms. On the flipside, anti-psychotic medications to control hallucinations can worsen motor symptoms, so treating all the symptoms of LBD simultaneously can be a tricky balancing act.

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Epidemiology Of Dementia And Parkinson’s Disease

Dementia and PD are both diagnosed frequently and increase mortality . Perhaps dementia is perceived more so as a memory problem and a disease of old age, but the incidence of dementia and PD in younger age is similar. In the Netherlands, for dementia, the incidence per 1,000 person-years is 0.4 among those aged 6064 , and for PD, it is 0.3 . Dementia incidence patterns, however, show a much steeper increase with age mounting to 27 per 1,000 person-years for those 85 and over, compared to 4 for PD over 85. In view of similar mortality , therefore, the prevalence of dementia in the general population is much higher than prevalence of PD . However, adjusted for age and other factors, 6-year mortality in PD is higher than in Alzheimer’s dementia . Age adjustment is relevant also as it shows that comorbid disease may be equally prevalent for Alzheimer’sa main type of dementiaand PD across the same age groups .

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What Causes Parkinsons Dementia

The mechanisms of dementia are not yet fully understood, although we know that the process involves neurodegeneration . It is not possible to predict who will be affected. The most notable risk factors are:

  • advancing age there is a much lower incidence of dementia in people under 50 years of age. Usually a number of years pass from being diagnosed with Parkinsons to the onset of dementia, maybe up to 15 years in some cases
  • poor motor response to levodopa treatment
  • falls
  • changes in the structure and chemistry of the brain – the process that causes of the loss of dopamine cells in the brain is thought to be responsible for cognitive changes
  • microscopic deposits, or Lewy bodies, in the nerve cells of the brain stem
  • hallucinations or delusions early on in the condition increases the risk of developing dementia
  • non-motor symptoms: hyposmia , dysautonomias , REM-sleep disorder
  • a higher risk of dementia in people who were diagnosed with Parkinsons late in life and have had the condition for a long time, or who have relatives with dementia.

Caring For Someone With Parkinsons

Dealing with Dementia in Parkinson’s Disease

Practice patience and understanding when dealing with Parkinsons. You may be very frustrated and challenged as a caregiver, but those with Parkinsons are just as frustrated. Their physical and mental conditions can be debilitating, depressing, and humiliating.

Diet and nutrition can have a huge impact on the health and comfort of a Parkinson patient. Eating well, getting more rest, sleeping well, fresh air, and exercise can make a difference. Getting the right medication and complementary therapies is also important.

As Parkinsons impacts a patients motor skills, modifications to the living environment may have to be made to accommodate wheelchairs and limited mobility issues. Professional in-home assistance for Parkinsons can allow Parkinson patients to remain independent and can enhance quality of life.

Most importantly, seek help and support from family, friends, and caregiving support groups. Take advantage of the resources in your community. Shouldering all the burden can take a toll on a caregiver.

Take care of yourself or you wont be able to take care of your loved one. Follow the preventive advice provided above for yourself as well, and take deep breaths!

Resources

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Number Of People Affected

Parkinsons disease is thought to affect about 2 percent of Americans over 65. Of those, about 50 to 80 percent will go on to develop Parkinsons-related dementia.1 The Parkinsons Foundation estimates that nearly 1 million Americans will be living with Parkinsons by 2020. The disease affects 1.5 times more men than women.7

Approximately 5.8 million Americans are currently living with Alzheimers disease. That number is expected to increase to 14 million by 2050.8 There is little difference between numbers of men and women who develop Alzheimers, but there are more women with the disease, because women tend to live longer than men.3

Can You Have Both Parkinsons And Alzheimers

People who already have Parkinsons disease and later develop signs of dementia are diagnosed with Parkinsons dementia.6 However, if you first have Alzheimers disease and develop signs of movement difficulties, you can also have a diagnosis of Parkinsons disease.

Tell us about your experience in the comments below, or with the community.

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Apda In Your Community

APDAParkinson’s Disease SymptomsLewy Bodies, Dementia, and Parkinsons What Does it all Mean?

Here are two common scenarios that may sound familiar:

Scenario 1A patient develops a series of neurologic symptoms, is evaluated by a neurologist and is told that she has Parkinsons disease . She then visits another neurologist for a second opinion and is told she has Lewy Body Dementia .

Scenario 2A patient has his first visit with his neurologist and is told that he has PD, at a subsequent visit the diagnosis is changed to Parkinsons disease dementia , and at a follow up visit the diagnosis is changed yet again to Dementia with Lewy Bodies .

Both of these situations understandably cause great uncertainty and frustration.

Diagnosis: Parkinson’s Dementia Or Dementia With Lewy Bodies

Dementia caused by Parkinson

During assessment, a specialist may look at when the dementia symptoms first appeared before reaching a diagnosis of Parkinson’s dementia or dementia with Lewy bodies.

If there have been motor symptoms for at least one year before dementia symptoms occur, specialists will often give a diagnosis of Parkinson’s dementia.

If dementia symptoms occur before or at the same time as motor symptoms, specialists will usually give a diagnosis of dementia with Lewy bodies.

However, it should be noted that in some cases of dementia with Lewy bodies, no motor symptoms develop at all.

Theres no single test – diagnosis is made through several different assessments, usually starting with an appointment with your GP or Parkinson’s nurse.

Some people find it helps to go to the appointment with someone who knows them well, who can give the GP or Parkinson’s nurse information about changes they’ve noticed.

Your GP can discuss your symptoms with you and carry out a physical examination, including blood and urine tests, to rule out other potential causes of the symptoms .

Your GP may also review your medication, in case your symptoms are side effects.

If your GP thinks you have dementia, they can refer you to a specialist, such as a neurologist, psychiatrist or geriatrician.

You might be referred to a memory clinic or memory service. In some areas of the country, you can refer yourself to these services.

But if you feel you need to see the specialist again, you can ask to be referred back.

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What Are Parkinson’s Disease Dementia Medical Treatment And Medications

There is no specific therapy for dementia in Parkinson’s disease. Although cognitive symptoms initially may appear to respond to drugs that promote dopamine production, the improvement is mild and transient in contrast to the early responses to motor control improvement with medication in patients with Parkinson’s disease.

Parkinson’s disease dementia medications

Various medications are used to treat the movement disorders of Parkinson’s disease, some may exacerbate symptoms related to dementia.

  • These include dopamine given in the form of levodopa medications known as dopamine agonists that act on the dopamine receptor and medications that slow down the metabolism of dopamine. They are often used in conjunction with monoamine oxidase inhibitors such as rasagiline. In addition, anticholinergic drugs are sometimes used.
  • Unfortunately, these drugs may affect cognitive symptoms and mood disorders.
  • Anticholinergic drugs, for example, help balance levels of dopamine and acetylcholine, another neurotransmitter, in the brain. These drugs can improve movement disorders but often make memory loss worse.

The dementia of Parkinson’s disease may respond to drugs used in patients with Alzheimer’s disease. However, these drugs, called cholinesterase inhibitors , lead to only small and temporary improvements in cognition.

Mood disorders and psychoses are usually treated with other medication.

How Can We Manage Hallucinations

It may not be necessary to treat all hallucinations of a person with PDD. Hallucinations are often harmless, and it is okay to allow them to happen, as long as they are not disruptive or upsetting to the person or surroundings. Sometimes, recognizing the hallucination and then switching the topic might be an efficient way of handling frustrations that occur because of a hallucination. If hallucinations need medical treatment, your provider may be able to discuss and suggest some options. However, many of the medications used to treat hallucinations may make movement symptoms worse.

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Robin Was Very Aware That He Was Losing His Mind And There Was Nothing He Could Do About It

Schneider added: Robin was very aware that he was losing his mind and there was nothing he could do about it.

Jacqueline Cannon said of her fathers condition: He always used to say to me, Im losing my mind. We say to people that LBD is not just about memory. Its about the other symptoms that go with it, especially the hallucinations.

In the spotlight

Like Parkinsons disease there is currently no cure for LBD, and a need to raise awareness the case of Robin Williams will no doubt help. Dedicated research centres do already exist, such as the leading Biomedical Research Unit in Lewy Body Dementia at Newcastle University.

Professor Ian McKeith, president of the Lewy Body Society, believes there is cause for hope however. In a piece published by The Conversation, he wrote: Therapeutic trials have been few and far between in LBD because of a combination of a lack of compounds to test, a pre-occupation with targeting Alzheimers and a reluctance of regulatory bodies to recognise LBD. All of these are now changing and LBD is increasingly viewed as a malleable and commercially-viable target.

Core Features Of Probable Pdd

Tender Rose Virtual Salon: Parkinson’s Disease Dementia

The primary defining feature of PDD is dementia that develops in the setting of established PD . Therefore, the critical first step in the diagnosis process is to identify idiopathic PD, prior to the development of dementia. For a diagnosis of PDD, two core features must be present: a diagnosis of PD according to the Queen Square Brain Bank criteria and PD developed prior to the onset of dementia .

In this case, a dementia syndrome is defined as impairment in at least two cognitive domains and cognitive deficiency severe enough to impair daily life that must be independent of impairment because of PD motor symptoms. The MDS Task Force recommended that the Mini-Mental State Examination may be useful as a screening instrument for identifying cognitive impairment in PDD patients the MMSE is a simple and universally applied scale that can be easily and quickly performed in the clinical setting . An MMSE score of 25 or below is proposed as the cut-off for identifying clinically significant cognitive impairment in this population .

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Dementia With Lewy Bodies

A less common type of dementia can also affect those with Parkinsons. This is called Dementia with Lewy bodies. It is different from the classic Parkinsons Dementia because dementia comes on at the same time as the movement problems like tremor, stiffness and slowness. On occasion, dementia can actually develop without any other symptoms or signs.

Like Alzheimers and Parkinsons Dementia, Dementia with Lewy bodies causes memory loss, problems with language and impaired concentration. It can also affect the ability to recognise faces, perform simple actions and to judge distances and movements.Vivid visual hallucinations, are particularly common in this type of dementia and can start fairly early on in the disease.

Although there is still no cure for Parkinsons or the dementia associated with the disease, the symptoms may be eased a little with medications and specialist therapies. So, it is important to get advice from your GP, specialist or Parkinson’s nurse if you are worried, or if you are experiencing problems with your memory.

Life with dementia can be challenging, but getting treatment and support early may improve symptoms and help you maintain your independence, function and wellbeing for longer. With the right care and disease control you really can continue to love, laugh and live with Parkinsons.

Find out more about Parkinsons disease:

What Is Lewy Body Dementia

Lewy body dementia is not a single disorder but rather a spectrum of closely-related disorders involving disturbances of cognition, behavior, sleep, movement and autonomic function.

In these progressive disorders, Lewy bodies build up in the brain. Lewy bodies in the brain stem cause a disruption in the production of chemical messengers called dopamine. Too little dopamine can cause parkinsonism, a clinical syndrome thats characterized by tremor, bradykinesia , rigidity and postural instability. Parkinsonism can be caused by Parkinsons disease itself as well as by other underlying neurological conditions such as LBD. These Lewy bodies are also found throughout other areas of the brain, including the cerebral cortex. The neurotransmitter acetylcholine is also depleted, causing disruption of perception, thinking and behavior.

A German neurologist, Friederich H. Lewy, first discovered the abnormal protein deposits in the early 1900s as he was conducting research on Parkinsons disease.

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Parkinson’s Disease Dementia Follow

A person with Parkinson’s disease and dementia requires regular checkups with his or her health care professional.

  • These checkups allow the health care professional to see how well treatment is working and make adjustments as necessary.
  • They allow detection of new problems of cognition, mood, or behavior that could benefit from treatment.
  • These visits also give the family caregiver an opportunity to discuss problems in the individual’s care.

Eventually, the person with Parkinson’s disease and dementia will likely become unable to care for himself or herself or even to make decisions about his or her care if the patient lives long enough with Parkinson’s disease and dementia.

  • It is best for the person to discuss future care arrangements with family members as early as possible, so that his or her wishes can be clarified and documented for the future.
  • A health care professional can advise patients and caregivers about legal arrangements that should be made to ensure that these wishes are observed.

Parkinson’s disease dementia prevention

There is no known way of preventing dementia in Parkinson’s disease. However, patients with Parkinson’s disease are urged to continue to exercise and live a healthy lifestyle as this may delay or reduce the onset of dementia, although there is no good data to indicate this will occur.

Parkinson’s disease dementia prognosis

Things You Should Know About The Link Between Parkinsons And Dementia

12.5. HEALTH ISSUES RELATED TO THE HUMAN NERVOUS SYSTEM ...

Both Parkinsons disease and dementia were ravaging the brain and behavior of actor Robin Williams before his death, but at the time, he didnt realize he had the latter.

Despite the fact that the signs of this combination can be confusing, the double diagnosis of Parkinsons and dementia impacts a large number of people. Of the one million people who have Parkinsons in the U.S., 50 to 80 percent may have dementiaeither as a result of Parkinsons pathology, or separately.

Robin Williams widow, Susan, wrote an editorial published in Neurology that was addressed to neurologists after his death. In it, she shared what it was like seeing her husband experience both Parkinsons disease and Lewy body dementia firsthand.

My hope is that it will help you understand your patients along with their spouses and caregivers a little more, Susan wrote.

Williams was first diagnosed with Parkinsons disease, which at first seemed to provide some answers for his out-of-character symptoms.

But it wasnt until after his death that an autopsy revealed he had been in the later stages of Lewy body dementiaa common form of dementia characterized by deposits of Lewy body proteins in the brain, which can impact physical movement, mood, memory and behavior.

I will never know the true depth of his suffering, nor just how hard he was fighting, Susan wrote. But from where I stood, I saw the bravest man in the world playing the hardest role of his life.

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