Lewy Body dementia

Dementia with Lewy bodies is a rare form of dementia caused by small clumps of protein that build up inside nerve cells in the brain, damaging the way they work and communicate with each other.  These are named Lewy bodies after Dr Frederich Lewy, who first identified them. Lewy bodies are also present in some forms of Parkinson's disease. 

Symptoms include:

  •     Hallucinations which often involve people or animals
  •     Parkinson’s-type symptoms including slow movement and stiffness in the limbs
  •     Movements during sleep and vivid dreams
  •     Symptoms similar to Alzheimer’s, including memory loss and disorientation
  •     Fainting and falls
  •     Marked variation in alertness and confusion, which can fluctuate from hour to hour or day to day

Treatment

Like other types of dementia there is no cure for LBD. Some of the Alzheimer drugs may be suitable for people with Lewy body dementia, but particular care has to be taken by doctors as some are unsuitable.

Coping strategies include understanding as much as possible about the disease and the changes it can bring, particularly that visual disturbances may be very real to the person affected, even though others cannot see them. Rehabilitative support, such as physiotherapy, occupational therapy and speech therapy can also be helpful.

How carers and family can help