Dementia With Lewy Bodies
The third most common type of dementia
Dementia With Lewy Bodies (DLB)
Dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) is a common clinical entity, which affects many areas of the brain. The famous actor and probably one of the funniest people, Robin Williams suffered from undiagnosed DLB. On August 11 2014, the disturbing symptoms of the disease, lead him to suicide at the age of 63. In the article The terrorist inside my husband’s brain at the Neurology Journal, his wife describes the famous actor’s struggle.
❝ Robin was losing his mind and he was aware of it. Can you imagine the pain he felt as he experienced himself disintegrating? And not from something he would ever know the name of, or understand? Neither he, nor anyone could stop it—no amount of intelligence or love could hold it back.
Powerless and frozen, I stood in the darkness of not knowing what was happening to my husband. Was it a single source, a single terrorist, or was this a combo pack of disease raining down on him?
He kept saying, “I just want to reboot my brain.” Doctor appointments, testing, and psychiatry kept us in perpetual motion. Countless blood tests, urine tests, plus rechecks of cortisol levels and lymph nodes. A brain scan was done, looking for a possible tumor on his pituitary gland, and his cardiologist rechecked his heart. Everything came back negative, except for high cortisol levels. We wanted to be happy about all the negative test results, but Robin and I both had a deep sense that something was terribly wrong.❞
The terrorist inside my husband’s brain –
Compared to Alzheimer’s disease (AD), Parkinson’s Disease (PD) or Vascular Dementia (VaD), DLB it is less known to clinicians and its complex clinical presentation could make it challenging to diagnose. In the following Nature Reviews Neurology article we will try to represent the spectrum of knowledge about this challenging disease.
Related articles and links suggested for further reading:
- Dementia with Lewy bodies — from scientific knowledge to clinical insights, Nature Reviews Neurology Journal, N. Arnaoutoglou, J.T. O’Brien and B.U. Underwood (Ahead of print)
- Diagnosis and management of dementia with Lewy bodies – Fourth consensus report of the DLB Consortium, Neurology Journal, Mckeith et al. (2017)
- The Diamond Lewy DLB assessment Toolkit – Newcastle DLB research group
- NICE Guidelines for Dementia (June 2018)
- Lewy Body Dementia Association
- Lewy Body Society
- Michael J. Fox Organization for Parkinson’s Research
Dr. Nikitas Arnaoutoglou, MD PhD
Visiting Researcher University of Cambridge
Consultant in Old Age Psychiatry CPFT