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Lewy body dementia is the second most common type of degenerative dementia seen in the elderly. This form of dementia takes its name from Lewy bodies, which are abnormal structures found in some nerve cells in the brain of people with the condition. This type of dementia may result in a wide range of symptoms, which may include visual hallucinations, tremor, acute confusion, and memory loss. There is no cure for this condition; however, treatment with certain medications may help ease symptoms.

What Is Lewy Body Dementia?

Lewy body dementia is a progressive condition that causes dementia or psychosis. It is named for the abnormal structures (Lewy bodies) found in certain areas of the brain. Lewy body dementia is the second most common type of degenerative dementia found in the elderly.
 
It should be noted that Lewy body dementia is often referred to both as a type and a cause of dementia. Likewise, terms such as "vascular dementia" are often used to describe causes as well as types of dementia.
 
Lewy bodies and many of the symptoms of Lewy body dementia are often associated with Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's disease. Therefore, researchers do not yet understand whether Lewy body dementia is its own condition or perhaps a variant of Alzheimer's or Parkinson's disease.
 
Lewy body dementia usually occurs sporadically in people with no known family history of Lewy body dementia. However, familial cases have occasionally been reported.
 
Other names for Lewy body dementia include:
 
  • Dementia with Lewy bodies
  • Lewy body disease
  • Diffuse Lewy body disease
  • Cortical Lewy body disease
  • Lewy body variant of Alzheimer's
  • Parkinson's disease with dementia.
 
Written by/reviewed by:
Last reviewed by: Arthur Schoenstadt, MD
Last updated/reviewed:
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