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Lewy body dementia (LBD) is a neurodegenerative disorder that can occur in persons older than 65 years of age, which typically causes symptoms of cognitive (thinking) impairment and abnormal behavioral changes.
The condition was first described by Frederick Lewy in 1941 when he described Lewy bodies, which are abnormal inclusions in the cytoplasm (components of a cell outside the nucleus) of cells found in patients who had
The signs and symptoms of LBD stem from a multi-factorial cause of disrupted bidirectional (two-way) information flow in neurons, especially those located in the frontal lobe; that is, there are abnormalities in the chemicals that regulate and pass on message signals between neurons in the brain. Alterations in neurotransmitter chemicals can also impair nerve cell circuitry, causing abnormalities in bidirectional information flow.
Most patients with LBD also have brain evidence of Alzheimer's disease pathology. Additionally, most patients with LBD possess amyloid plaques in their cerebral cortex. Lewy bodies can also occur in a genetically transmitted form of Alzheimer's disease, Pick's disease, and Down syndrome.
Dementia (used as a general term) has been an increasingly common disorder that is especially more frequent in the elderly. Dementia affects 7% of the general population older than 65 years and that incidence increases with age to 30% of those age 80 years and older. Autopsy results in the United States estimate that LBD accounts for 10–20% of dementia cases. Approximately 40% of patients with Alzheimer's disease also have LBD. Data from autopsy results in Europe and Japan reveal similar frequencies as reported in studies from the United States. No data is available concerning age, gender, or potential risk factors.
Author Info: Laith Farid Gulli MD, Robert Ramirez DO, Nicole Mallory MS, PA-C, The Gale Group Inc., Gale, Detroit, Gale Encyclopedia of Neurological Disorders, 2005
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