IntroductionAlzheimer’sand Dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) are two separate but similar conditions.
Alzheimer’s damagesthe hippocampus, which alters the brain’s ability to store memories whichcauses memory loss, the symptom the disease is most commonly known for. Dementia with Lewy bodies, on the other hand,affects different functions of the brain, specifically the ability to reason andsolve problems.Although there are tests that can be taken out to more conclusively determine ifa patient has these conditions, in general, both Alzheimer’s and DLB arediagnosed through observation and tracking the progression of a patients behaviourand symptoms.
Dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB)Dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) is a progressive typeof dementia that can go from confusion and different behaviour/waysof thinking to a complete declinein thinking, responding normal behaviour, reasoningand eventuallynormal, independent function in everyday situations. DLB is detected by the abnormal masses of proteinsbuilding up into deposits known as Lewybodies. This protein, however, is also associated with Parkinson’s disease and Parkinson’sdementia disease, which can cause difficulties when diagnosing a patient.People who have Lewy bodies intheir brains often also have the plaques and tangles associated withAlzheimer’s disease. Plaques and tangles can causemajor tissue loss and the death of cells in the brain of an Alzheimer’s patient. Plaques are unusual clumps of “sticky” proteins calledbeta-amyloid that build up around and in-between nerve cells.Symptoms of DLB DLB patients oftenhave a common symptom of becoming randomly confused about theirlocation or actions and they may not understand whatthey are doing and/or their surroundings during the day.
Theycan possibly become panicked or frightened easily and be more alert thanusual. Another main symptom of DLB is a change in the way someone thinks, talksor acts. Like most DLB symptoms, this change is not always easy to pick upon at first however it becomes more noticeable as thecondition becomes more severe. This pattern is also seen inhallucinations patients are known to experience, they often start out a smallfigments of the imagination, such as animals, and progressively worsen intocomplete delusions with the patients believing that certain aspects of theirlives are completely different to reality. The disease also has mutual symptomswith Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease. Someone suffering from DLB may experiencea different or unusual posture, stiff or sore muscles and problems stayingstable and balancing, much like many Parkinson’s patients. Alzheimer’s most well-knownsymptom is memory loss and this symptom is also present in DLB patients.
Thoughnot often as severe as that of Alzheimer’s patients, sufferers can experiencememory loss as both diseases damage the hippocampus, the part of the brain thatstores information as memories. This can also lead to patients being unable to understandviual information.