Brain Disorders

Picture of Lewy Body Dementia

Picture of Lewy Body Dementia (LBD)

Lewy body dementia (LBD) is one of the most common types of progressive dementia. Lewy body dementia usually occurs sporadically, in people with no known family history of the disease. However, rare familial cases have occasionally been reported. In Lewy body dementia, cells die in the brain's cortex (outer layer), and in a part of the mid-brain called the substantia nigra. Many of the remaining nerve cells in the substantia nigra contain abnormal structures called Lewy bodies that are the hallmark of the disease.

The symptoms of Lewy body dementia overlap with Alzheimer's disease in many ways, and may include memory impairment, poor judgment, and confusion. However, Lewy body dementia typically also includes visual hallucinations, parkinsonian symptoms such as a shuffling gait (walk) and flexed posture, and day-to-day fluctuations in the severity of symptoms. Patients with Lewy body dementia live an average of 7 years after symptoms begin. There is no cure for Lewy body dementia, and treatments are aimed at controlling the parkinsonian and psychiatric symptoms of the disorder.

Reviewed by William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR on November 23, 2009

Image Source: Image reprinted with permission from, 2009

Text: "Dementia", MedicineNet