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Nihon Ronen Igakkai Zasshi. 2000 Oct;37(10):772-6.

[Dementia with Lewy bodies].

[Article in Japanese]


Dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB), the second most frequent cause of primary degenerative dementias following Alzheimer's disease, has been increasingly recognized since the proposal of the consensus name and clinical diagnostic criteria. Although DLB overlaps in clinical, pathological, and genetic features with Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease, DLB should be understood as an entity with the essential feature of the presence of Lewy bodies in the brain stem and cerebral cortex. From the clinical point of view, DLB is characterized by the presence of progressive dementia without severe memory disorders at the early stage, with significant cognitive fluctuations, well-formed recurrent visual hallucinations, and spontaneous Parkinsonism. This article reviews recent clinical and research findings, including our own, to facilitate clinical recognition of DLB. In addition to the supportive features described in the consortium clinical diagnostic criteria for DLB such as falls and great sensitivity to neuroleptic drugs, our studies found other frequent disorders including disproportionately severe visuoconstructive and visuoperceptual disturbances, transitory alterations in consciousness with reduplication phenomena, misidentification delusions, and non-aphasic misnamings. Neuroimaging features include relatively preserved hippocampal volume on MRI and occipital involvement on metabolic and blood flow imagings. The correct diagnosis of DLB is important to administer adequate treatment, to avoid adverse effects with neuroleptic drugs, and to establish precise prognosis. The present summary of the clinical features is hopefully helpful for clinical diagnosis of DLB. From a therapeutic point of view, cholinesterase inhibitors seemingly show some efficacy in the treatment of cognitive alterations. Further research would result in advances in diagnostic methods and therapeutic approaches in the near future.

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