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Saturday, June 16, 2007

They can receive the proper treatment: Lewy Body diagnosis

The Guest of Honour at the fund-raiser was octogenarian actress Miss June Brown, also known as Dot on the popular BBC 1 television soap, EastEnders. She said, "Alzheimer's is not the only dementia," as her late husband, the actor Bob Arnold, died of Lewy Body Disease in 2003. "It is important for people, especially doctors, to know about Lewy Body Disease so that fewer people are misdiagnosed and so they can receive the proper treatment."

Lewy Body disease, also known as Dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB),
Is Europe’s second most common form of age-related dementia. Between 120,000 - 130,000 people in the United Kingdom are thought to suffer from this terrible neurodegenerative disease.

Lewy bodies, first identified by Dr. Friedrich Lewy in 1912, are microscopic protein deposits found in the brain. Their presence disrupts the brain's normal functioning, causing progressive mental and motor dysfunction.

Because DLB shares common characteristics with both Alzheimer's and Parkinson's Diseases, it is often misdiagnosed. Accurate and early diagnosis is crucial because administering the wrong drugs can have extremely adverse and even fatal consequences.

The Lewy Body Society's President and Chairman of its Medical and Scientific Advisory Panel is Professor Ian McKeith of Newcastle University, who is acknowledged as the world's leading expert in DLB , having published more than 200 peer-reviewed papers on the subject.

"Virtually unrecognised 20 years ago, DLB could within this decade be one of the most treatable neurodegenerative disorders of late life," said Prof McKeith. "The first goal must be to raise awareness."

Advice for those with a family member with dementia: Consider whether Lewy Body disease could be a diagnosis.

Read another of our neurology diagnosis stories, or read the source story in Medical News today.

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