Differentiating Lewy Body Dementia From Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s The difficulty of correctly diagnosing Lewy body dementia has inspired researchers at Ohio State University to develop a clinical profile that may help in distinguishing the disease from Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, the study compared participants with each disease—otherwise matched by age, gender, education, ... Research in Brief
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Research in Brief  |   December 01, 2016
Differentiating Lewy Body Dementia From Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s
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Special Populations / Older Adults & Aging / Research in Brief
Research in Brief   |   December 01, 2016
Differentiating Lewy Body Dementia From Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s
The ASHA Leader, December 2016, Vol. 21, 16. doi:10.1044/leader.RIB4.21122016.16
The ASHA Leader, December 2016, Vol. 21, 16. doi:10.1044/leader.RIB4.21122016.16
The difficulty of correctly diagnosing Lewy body dementia has inspired researchers at Ohio State University to develop a clinical profile that may help in distinguishing the disease from Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
Published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, the study compared participants with each disease—otherwise matched by age, gender, education, race and degrees of cognitive and motor impairment—by measuring factors of cognition, functional behavior and motor skills.
“Since treatments and prognosis differ [among Lewy body dementia, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s], it’s important to correctly diagnose the patient from the start,” says Douglas Scharre, director of the division of cognitive neurology at Ohio State’s Wexner Medical Center and lead author of the study.
The researchers measured the abilities of 21 participants with Lewy body dementia in comparison with 21 participants with Alzheimer’s and 21 participants with Parkinson’s. Each subgroup included 13 Caucasian men and eight Caucasian women.
Classic characterizations of Lewy body dementia include memory loss, visual processing difficulties, stiffness and trouble with gait. Lewy bodies—protein chains that gather abnormally in the brain—usually are not present in patients with Alzheimer’s and populate different parts of the brain in patients with Parkinson’s.
The researchers found that patients likely have Lewy body dementia if they have memory retrieval problems, visuospatial and executive domain deficits, posture impairments, and instability in gait and balance. Compared with those who have Parkinson’s, patients with Lewy body dementia may have worse balance, gait and axial motor skills, such as rising from a chair. Compared with those who have Alzheimer’s, patients with Lewy body dementia have worse visuospatial and executive deficits, but less significant amnesia and orientation impairments.
The Lewy body dementia group in the study also displayed more sleepiness, hallucinations, sleep apnea, and fluctuations in cognition and behavior than the Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s groups.
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December 2016
Volume 21, Issue 12