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Experts issue new Lewy body dementia guidelines

June 13, 2017
by Nicole Stempak, Senior Editor
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The international Dementia with Lewy Bodies Consortium has updated its guidelines for Lewy body dementia—the first time since 2005.

More than 60 worldwide experts contributed to the new report that weighted clinical signs and biomarkers to guide clinicians on diagnosing Lewy body dementia along with treatment recommendations, such as using medications called cholinesterase inhibitors to try to improve cognition by triggering nerve impulses from one brain cell to the next. The findings were published in the journal Neurology.

“The updated clinical criteria and associated biomarkers hopefully will lead to earlier and more accurate diagnosis, and that is key to helping patients confront this challenging illness and maximize their quality of life,” says Bradley Boeve, MD, co-author, neurologist at the Mayo Clinic, in a Clinic press release. “Previously, there has been little agreement on the optimal medication and non-medication approaches for patients and their families.”

Symptoms of Lewy body dementia include:

  • Cognitive problems - confusion, reduced attention span and memory loss
  • Fluctuating attention - drowsiness, staring into space, daytime naps and disorganized speech
  • Visual hallucinations - seeing animals or people that aren’t there
  • Sleep difficulties - physically acting out dreams while asleep and excessive daytime sleepiness
  • Movement disorders - slowed movement, rigid muscles, tremors or shuffling walk
  • Poor regulations of body function - dizziness, falls and bowel issues
  • Depression - persistent sadness and loss of interest

Mayo Clinic sponsored an international dementia with Lewy bodies conference with roughly 400 clinicians, scientists, patients and care partners in December 2015. This is the first publication to come from the conference. 

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