Lewy body disease

January 2017


Definition


Lewy body disease, also called dementia with Lewy bodies, is a neurological disease that affects cognitive functions. It develops due to deposits of conglomerates proteins, Lewy bodies, in brain cells, thus disturbing the normal functioning of the brain. On some points, dementia with Lewy bodies is very similar to Alzheimer's disease or Parkinson's disease. It is distinguished by a generally more rapid and marked deterioration of mental faculties. Like other neurodegenerative dementias, it affects the elderly.

Symptoms


Symptoms of Lewy body disease are:
  • a decrease in attention abilities, alertness, coupled with sleepiness;
  • a loss of spatial reasoning;
  • behavioral problems with delusions and misconceptions of realities;
  • a progressive loss of intellectual function: practical reasoning, language, making simple calculations;
  • a progressive deterioration of memory;
  • occasionally, visual hallucinations;
  • depressive symptoms;
  • extrapyramidal syndrome (which is similar to Parkinson's disease) with tremors, difficulty in movement and walking and contracted muscles;
  • repeated falls.

The intensity of these symptoms varies greatly one day to another.

Diagnosis


The diagnosis is made after the examination of the patient: the assessment of cognitive and motor capacities and the elimination of other possible disorders, the symptoms of Lewy body disease being quite similar to those of other neurological disorders. A grouping of evidence confirms the diagnosis, and is often reinforced by a number of neuropsychological tests to assess all of the above capabilities in the individual.

Treatment


Lewy body disease has, to date, no known cure, which causes problems, especially since it is rapidly evolving. The treatment will be symptomatic and will hope to slow the progression and improve cognitive abilities. Physiotherapy allows the patient to fight against motor disorders. Antipsychotics should not be used, as an abnormal use of this substance may cause its over-accumulation in the body.

Related

Original article published by . Translated by Jeff. Latest update on July 24, 2013 at 06:04 AM by Jeff.
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