Other dementias besides Alzheimer’s

Lewy Body Dementia

Lewy Bodies are deposits of protein in the nerve cells in the brain which can cause Parkinsonian features, such as stiffness and slowness in the limbs, rest tremor, along with fluctuating cognition due to wide swings in alertness and attention. The patient or family may also report visual hallucinations and a particular kind of sleep disorder, a dream enactment syndrome, during which the patient may talk and/or show complex movements, acting out what he or she is dreaming about. Lewy Bodies are also present in people with Parkinson’s disease, which puts them at risk for developing a similar form of dementia over the course of their disease.

Frontotemporal dementia (FTD)

This type of dementia encompasses a group of three different syndromes, but all are characterized by brain degeneration occurring in the front of the brain.  One of these primarily affects social skills and personality; one can compromise ability to speak fluently, and a third affects ability to understand the meaning of individual words, mainly nouns.  They are caused by an accumulation of abnormal proteins in the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain that control these behaviors and language functions.

Alzheimer’s vs. Dementia

The term Alzheimer’s disease and dementia are often used interchangeably, by the media. This is not correct and unfortunately can create confusion for patients and families. Alzheimer’s disease is simply the most common reason for dementia.

“Knowing the differences among the dementias and making a more specific diagnosis can help physicians and caregivers better monitor and manage symptoms, provide the right resources for patients and their families, and prepare for the future,” said Dr. Weidman. “But no matter the type of dementia, after the diagnosis is made, a patient/family-centered approach to care is essential, and thereafter, we always encourage them to partner with us to make decisions together about ongoing medical care.”


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2 responses to “Other dementias besides Alzheimer’s

  1. Thank you for your blog! I read it every day. I enjoy your weekly cartoons, too. I share them with a friend in Wisconsin who recently had many life changes. Thanks again for your scientific reporting on aging and the brain.

    Liked by 2 people

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