& Directory

2021 Speakers

January 27, 2021 (via Zoom)

James Galvin, MD, MPH, Professor of Neurology at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, and Founding Director of the Comprehensive Program for Brain Health and Chief, Cognitive Neurology for Palm Beach and Broward County.

Lewy Body Disease

Summary Points from Presentation:

  • Lewy Body dementia (LBD) is an umbrella term that covers 2 closely related diagnoses, dementia with Lewy bodies and Parkinson’s disease dementia. It is the second most common cause of dementia after Alzheimer’s disease.
  • One of the factors distinguishing Lewy body dementia from Parkinson’s disease is the early onset of dementia. Memory is not typically significantly impaired, but issues with executive function, fluctuating cognition, and visual hallucinations are noted.
  • Symptoms of LBD include the following: motor (slowness), cognitive (visual tracking and attention), psychiatric (visual hallucinations), and Constitutional (loss of smell, constipation, urinary incontinence.)
  • 78% of patients with LBD are misdiagnosed, and are often given psychiatric diagnoses.  Up to 25% of patients don’t ever get properly diagnosed with LBD.
  • Getting a proper diagnosis is important for advanced care planning and cost considerations (LBD is double the cost of Parkinson’s disease.) 
  • Caregivers should be provided with resources to manage burden and grief.
  • People often develop LBD 2-4 years prior to being diagnosed.  If LBD was recognized earlier, the dementia could be better managed with medications.
  • Treatments for LBD are “off-label use”, meaning an FDA-approved drug is being prescribed for unapproved use.  Evidence on outcomes is not yet substantial , but clinical reports have demonstrated improvements using these medications.



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