Lewy body dementia (LBD) is a disease caused by the development of proteins, called Lewy bodies, which deposit on the nerve cells in the brain which are responsible for memory, thinking and motor control and cause this brain tissue to degenerate. The disease is associated with a progressive decline in an affected individual’s mental abilities. The condition can also be associated with the development of visual hallucinations, as well as changes in attention and alertness. Patients may also start to develop Parkinson-like signs and symptoms early on in the disorder such as rest tremors in the hands and chin, slowed movements and rigid muscles.
Memory recall in Lewy body dementia can vary significantly in that on one day the patient recognize family members, and the next they may not. The facial expressions of these patients are described as showing little emotion and this occurs early in the disease. At times, patients with LBD may experience REM sleep behavior disorder which is a condition associated with physically acting out one’s dreams.
This is the second most common form of dementia, after Alzheimer’s disease, and it affects nearly 12 million patients worldwide. The condition seems to predominantly affect men over the age of 60, or those patients who have a family history of Lewy body dementia or Parkinson’s disease.
There is no cure available for Lewy body dementia, but the symptoms caused by the condition can be managed with medication.
Xpertdox: Top 5 list
Most of the top centers for the care of patients diagnosed with Lewy body dementia are located in the Northeastern and Northcentral U.S., and these hospitals may be familiar to many patients already. Here, we shall mention these facilities as well as some of the best doctors at these sites who specialize in managing Lewy body dementia.
New York-Presbyterian Hospital, New York, NY: New York-Presbyterian Hospital provides sensitive and compassionate care from a multidisciplinary team which includes neurologists, neuropsychologists, psychiatrists, neurosurgeons, social workers, nurses and genetic counselors. The hospital has a wide spectrum of excellent diagnostic services, including computed tomography (CT) scanning, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), positron emission tomography (PET) and single photon computed tomography (SPECT), as well as blood and cerebrospinal fluid testing, neuropathological assessments, neuropsychological testing and electroencephalography (EEG). The involved specialists have co-authored protocols for the use of genetic testing in families with dementia, and this test is available for members of families with this disorder. Laboratory research and clinical studies are being conducted to develop new treatments for all forms of dementia and the genetic and molecular basis of these dementias, their associated risk factors, and devising new neuropsychological tests and imaging procedures for diagnosis and monitoring. At New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center, researchers and clinicians performing studies at the Taub Institute for Research on Alzheimer's Disease and the Aging Brain, the New York State Psychiatric Institute, the Gertrude H. Sergievsky Center, and the Alzheimer's Disease Research Center at Columbia University (one of 29 specialized centers around the United States sponsored by the National Institute on Aging). Some of the top specialists identified for managing Lewy body dementia include Dr. Lawrence S. Honig, Dr. Karen S. Marder, Dr. Karen L. Bell, Dr. Lucien J. Cote and Dr. Michael T. Lin.
Mayo Clinic Hospital Rochester, Rochester, MN: The Mayo Clinic Hospital in Rochester is a non-profit organization committed to clinical practice, research and education. The organization provides expert care to everyone who needs healing. Mayo Clinic researchers and doctors have lengthy experience in properly evaluating and treating patients with Lewy body dementia. The team consists of specialists such as neurologists, neuropsychologists, neuroradiologists, psychiatrists, and doctors trained in physical medicine and rehabilitation and sleep medicine, who work together to assess and manage the condition. The doctors will develop individualized treatment protocols to meet patients’ specific needs in order to help manage Lewy body dementia. Mayo Clinic researchers study risk factors, diagnostic techniques and possible treatments for Lewy body dementia in order to provide patients with an accurate diagnosis and the latest treatment options. Some of the top specialists identified for managing Lewy body dementia include Dr. Bradley F. Boeve, Dr. David S. Knopman, Dr. Ronald C. Petersen, Dr. James H. Bower and Dr. Maja Tippman Peikert.
Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA: The hospital has a specific department called Penn Neurology, which has one of the largest memory-related neurology groups in the United States, and offers an extremely high level of subspecialist experience not easily found elsewhere. The neurologists implement a multiple-pronged approach to care, and they collaborate with other specialists and centers across Penn Medicine to treat the symptoms of dementia. Those centers include Penn Memory Center, the Penn FTD Center, Penn Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Penn Sleep Medicine, Penn Psychiatry and Penn Neurosurgery. At Penn, patients receive individualized treatment plans and the latest treatment options to manage the behavioral and cognitive symptoms caused by dementia. The hospital is committed to optimizing the outcomes of patient via close collaboration with affiliated research centers including the Center for Neurodegenerative Disease Research (CNDR), the Penn Center for Cognitive Neuroscience (CCN), and the Penn Institute on Aging. Penn Medicine’s Memory and Dementia physicians are recognized leaders in the field of neurology and include specialists such as Dr. Carol F. Lippa, Dr. Murray Grossman, Dr. Howard I. Hurtig, Dr. David Wolk and Dr. Steven E. Arnold.
Barnes-Jewish Hospital, Saint Louis, MO: Expert specialists in the field of Lewy body dementia at this center include Dr. John C. Morris (who leads the world-renowned Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center at Washington University School of Medicine), Dr. David M. Holtzman, Dr. Barbara J. Snider, Dr. Joel S. Perlmutter and Dr. Nupur Ghoshal. The specialist facility at the hospital is the Memory Diagnostic Center where patients are evaluated for a memory disorder, as well those who have problems with behavior, language or thinking. These doctors work with patients and their families to provide therapeutic management, slow down disease progression and incorporate appropriate lifestyle changes. The neurologists at Barnes-Jewish & Washington University are leaders in the research and treatment of memory-related disorders. Studies that are performed into the causes, symptoms and onset of dementias translate into more successful treatments for patients, and a hope for an eventual cure. These clinical studies are available for patients who are interested in becoming volunteers.
Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA: Specialists available for managing Lewy body dementia at Massachusetts General Hospital include Dr. John H. Growdon (director of the Memory Disorders Clinic since 1982, and director of the Massachusetts Alzheimer's Disease Research Center, MADRC, until April 2006), Dr. Bradley T. Hyman (current director of the MADRC since April 2006), Dr. Bradford C. Dickerson and Dr. Stephen N. Gomperts. The Memory Disorders Unit at Massachusetts General Hospital is a specialized care center for individuals who experience cognitive problems, and consists of the the Massachusetts Alzheimer's Disease Research Center (MADRC) and the Memory Disorders Clinic. Associated services at the Memory Disorders Clinic include complete neurologic evaluation and follow-up, neuropsychological evaluation and follow-up, psychiatric evaluation and monitoring where necessary, specialized symptomatic management through pharmacological intervention, genetic counseling for patients with rare cases of inherited cognitive disorders, and social service and support groups consultations for family members. The MADRC is supported by the National Institutes of Health to perform inventive neuroscientific research aimed at discovering the causes, treatment and prevention of neurodegenerative diseases. The unit's staff consists of board-certifies neurologists fluent in English, Spanish, Hebrew and French, neuropsychologists, a geriatric psychiatrist, neuropathologists, biostatisticians, a language and speech therapist, a social worker, research and unit coordinators, research assistants, psychometricians, and a genetic counselor. The MADRC conducts clinical trials involving a variety of neurological disorders.