Items in AFP with MESH term: Lewy Body Disease
Early Diagnosis of Dementia - Article
ABSTRACT: Until recently, the most significant issue facing a family physician regarding the diagnosis and treatment of dementia was ruling out delirium and potentially treatable etiologies. However, as more treatment options become available, it will become increasingly important to diagnose dementia early. Dementia may be suspected if memory deficits are exhibited during the medical history and physical examination. Information from the patient's family members, friends and caregivers may also point to signs of dementia. Distinguishing among age-related cognitive decline, mild cognitive impairment and Alzheimer's disease may be difficult and requires evaluation of cognitive and functional status. Careful medical evaluation to exclude treatable causes of cognitive impairment is important. Patients with early dementia may benefit from formal neuropsychologic testing to aid in medical and social decision-making. Follow-up by the patient's family physician is appropriate in most patients. However, a subspecialist may be helpful in the diagnosis and management of patients with dementia with an unusual presentation or following an atypical course.
ABSTRACT: Dementia with Lewy bodies appears to be the second most common form of dementia, accounting for about one in five cases. The condition is characterized by dementia accompanied by delirium, visual hallucinations, and parkinsonism. Other common symptoms include syncope, falls, sleep disorders, and depression. The presence of both Lewy bodies and amyloidplaques with deficiencies in both acetylcholine and dopamine neurotransmitters suggests that dementia with Lewy bodies represents the middle of a disease spectrum ranging from Alzheimer's disease to Parkinson's disease. The diagnosis of dementia with Lewy bodies is based on clinical features and exclusion of other diagnoses. Individualized behavioral, environmental, and pharmacologic therapies are used to alleviate symptoms and support patients and their families. Cholinesterase inhibitors are more effective in patients who have dementia with Lewy bodies than in those with Alzheimer's disease. Conversely, patients who have dementia with Lewy bodies do not respond as well to antiparkinsonian medications. Anticholinergic medications should be avoided because they exacerbate the symptoms of dementia. Traditional antipsychotic medications can precipitate severe reactions and may double or triple the rate of mortality in patients who have dementia with Lewy bodies.