Research News

Researchers in Japan published promising data on a Phase II clinical trial on an existing seizure medication in people with dementia with Lewy bodies. When used as an add-on treatment to levodopa, zonisamide improved motor symptoms in DLB without worsening psychiatric symptoms, a common side-effect in DLB. These findings require replication in a larger series of patients (i.e. Phase III trial) but suggest this medication may be potentially useful in a subset of DLB patients with motor symptoms that are less responsive to standard levodopa treatment

The first large-scale genome-wide association study was recently completed in people with dementia with Lewy bodies, hinting at unique genetic differences between DLB, Alzheimer's disease and Parkinson's disease. The findings confirmed previously reported associations of variations in three genes that increase the risk of a person developing DLB. Those genes are APOE, SNCA and GBA. A new gene, CNTN1, was also identified as one that may increase risk of DLB. 

The National Institute of Health recently awarded 4 more grants to leading academic centers in the US, in an effort to speed the development of widely-available biological tests for LBD. 

One missing link in LBD research is a test that confirms the underlying biological signs of DLB in a living person. Finding these biomarkers in LBD requires a network of many researchers working together.

This at-a-glance resource provides an update to healthcare professionals on the new diagnostic criteria for dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB)

New research suggests skin biopsies may hold strong potential to help diagnose dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB).

Microscopic protein deposits, called Lewy bodies, are present in the brain long before a person has enough symptoms to be diagnosed with Lewy body dementia (LBD). A new study identifies symptoms closely associated with LBD before a person has dementiaa - during the mild cognitive impairment stage. 

New criteria for diagnosing dementia with Lewy bodies now allows clinicians to combine both clinical  symptoms with biomarker test results. This provides healthcare professionals greater flexibility for diagnosis a disorder which presents in a variety of ways.

One of the top research priorities in LBD is to find a biomarker. What’s a biomarker and why is it so important in LBD research? Get the answer and learn how you can help researchers in their pursuit for LBD biomarkers.

A 5-year study of people with a condition called pure autonomic failure reveals the diagnosis may change over time to a Lewy body disorder, such as LBD, Parkinson's disease, or multiple system atrophy.

Smell may be a indicator of the likelihood of developing dementia.

Jan. 2017 - Preliminary clinical trial results show improvement in the motor skills of those with Lewy body dementia (LBD).

Jan, 2017 - The rate of progression in Lewy body dementia (LBD) is hard to predict at the time of diagnosis. New research indicates the presence of a second neurodegenerative disease process, Alzheimer’s disease (AD), has an impact on one’s prognosis.

Sept, 2016 - We are entering an era of unprecedented opportunity for understanding and treating Lewy body dementia (LBD). Our newest white paper, Lewy Body Dementia: The State of the Science provides the LBD community an easy-to-read overview of key major findings to date in LBD research. The report also highlights a vast array of opportunities to drive research progress forward.

May, 2016 - The use of antipsychotic medications in Lewy body dementias is a known challenge. Are the medications helpful and safe? A recent Parkinson’s disease study suggests there is reason for concern. However, new hope is on the horizon with the FDA’s approval of a new treatment for hallucinations in Parkinson’s disease.

June, 2015 - Lewy body pathology is found in up to 50% of cases of late-onset Alzheimer’s disease, which can make it challenging for physicians to distinguish the underlying cause or causes of dementia symptoms. The diagnostic problem is compounded because Lewy bodies alone can result in Lewy body dementia.  A new study shines new light on important clinical differences between people who have autopsy-verified Alzheimer’s disease pathology alone versus those who have both Alzheimer’s and Lewy bodies.

Jan, 2015 - Dementia is often preceded by an earlier phase called mild cognitive impairment (MCI), where an individual is still able to live independently, but notices changes in at least one area of cognition, such as memory or language.

Jan, 2015 - Drowsiness and daytime sleepiness are often described by individuals with dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) and their caregivers, even in the earliest stagest of DLB.

Dec. 2014 - Donepezil has been approved in Japan to treat dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB).

Dec, 2014 - An international panel of leaders in LBD research met recently to discuss research opportunities and challenges in the field of Lewy body dementias.

Nov, 2014 - The Lewy Body Dementia Association and the UK-based Lewy Body Society play an important role in reducing the burden that LBD places on families, according to an article included in a new series of LBD research papers published by the journal Alzheimer’s Research & Therapy.

Sept, 2014 - A recent study showed that memantine, a medication commonly used for Alzheimer’s disease, improves two important areas of cognitive function in Lewy body dementia.

July, 2014 - While new intervention drug trials are being launched in Alzheimer’s disease, Lewy body dementia (LBD) families still await any news about potential therapies that may someday halt the progression of Lewy body dementias. Cutting edge research demonstrates the potential of immunotherapy to slow or stop the development of Lewy bodies, the underlying disease process behind LBD.

April, 2014 - The ability to predict disease progression helps physicians anticipate clinical care needs and allows families put their experiences into context. A new study reports on progression to 3 key milestones that have the greatest impact on individuals with Parkinson’s disease (PD): postural instability, onset of dementia, and mortality.

Jan, 2014 - The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) presented 33 draft recommendations at its Parkinson's conference in January.

Jan, 2014 - The 2014 federal funding bill includes $29.9 billion for the National Institutes of Health (NIH) - a $1 billion increase from 2013 funding levels.

Dec, 2013 - Diagnosing dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) is challenging both for specialists and primary care physicians. A new composite risk score may aid in differentiating DLB from other forms of dementia.

Sept, 2013 - There are only a few known risk factors for dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) to date, including advanced age and male sex. A new study compared for the first time the frequency of risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease and Parkinson’s disease in individuals with DLB.

Aug, 2013 - A new study published in The Gerontologist examines caregivers’ experiences with stress and changes in mood and health, and compared their scores on days their relative attended Adult Day Services and days they provided most or all of the care.

June, 2013 - In May, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) hosted a meeting to present recommended national research priorities for non-Alzheimer’s dementias. LBDA staff and board members, as well as members of the LBD community, attended the event to advocate on behalf of LBD.

June, 2013 - Researchers at Georgetown University Medical Center have used tiny doses of a leukemia drug to halt accumulation of alpha-synuclein in the brains of mice. This finding provides the basis for clinical trials to study the effects in humans.

Mar, 2013 - Research demonstrates that autonomic dysfunction predicts a shorter survival time in these disorders. Little is known about how autonomic dysfunction affects survival in Lewy body dementias. Read more on the latest study by Dr. Kajsa Stubendorff of Lund University in Sweden.

May, 2013 - According to a new RAND Corporation study, the monetary cost of dementia in the United States ranges from $157 billion to $215 billion annually, making the condition more costly to the nation than either heart disease or cancer. 

May, 2013 - A study by Tanis Ferman, PhD and colleagues at Mayo Clinic assessed the progression from mild cognitive impairment (MCI) to different forms of dementia. Read this latest study presented at the American Academy of Neurology meeting in March 2013.

May, 2013 - REM sleep behavior disorder (RBD) is a condition that causes a person to physically act out their dreams and is a common in Lewy body dementia (LBD). New research indicates that the presence of RBD in a man with dementia is a strong indicator of Lewy body dementia over Alzheimer’s disease.

Apr, 2013 - New research reveals the onset of visual hallucinations within five years of developing dementia increases the odds of pathology-confirmed Lewy body disease four to five times over Alzheimer’s disease. 

Apr, 2013 - Lewy body pathology is found in the brains of 10 to 30 percent of older adults without any Parkinsonian motor symptoms and is called incidental Lewy body disease (ILBD). Research suggests that ILBD may represent a ‘preclinical’ stage of Parkinson’s disease (PD) that occurs before symptoms develop. 

May, 2016 - Together with representatives from LBDA, members of the LBD community attended a research summit at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to listen to the progress made in LBD and provide input to newly updated recommendations on LBD research priorities.

Sept, 2013 - A new study examines for the first time in North America the incidence of Lewy body dementias and its distribution by age and sex in the general population.

Sept, 2013 - New research into blood lipids in people with Parkinson’s disease may lead to blood tests that indicate which people with Parkinson’s are at risk for cognitive impairment and dementia.

May, 2013 - A new study published in JAMA Neurology, analyzes how frequently new cases of parkinsonism were diagnosed in one geographic area of the U.S. and which proteinopathies were the underlying cause. 

Jan, 2013 - While Lewy body disease can exist in a "pure" form — with little or no co-existing Alzheimer’s disease — at least half of individuals with Lewy body disease also have significant amounts of Alzheimer’s pathology. Research now reveals that a genetic variant that increases the risk of developing both early- and late-onset Alzheimer’s disease has been identified to also be a risk factor for Lewy body disorders.

Jan, 2013 - Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania have discovered how Lewy body pathology spreads in the brain. Researchers injected a synthetic version of misfolded alpha-synuclein into the brain, which resulted in a cell to cell transmission of the rogue protein to the nerve cells near the injection site. Parkinson’s-like Lewy body pathology then developed in the brain. 

12/20/2012 - Capgras syndrome is a fairly common delusion is a recurrent, temporary belief that a familiar person, often a close family member or caregiver, or location has been replaced by an identical imposter. Read the latest research from the Pearl I. Barlow Center for Memory Evaluation and Treatment at the NYU Medical Center.

Nov. 27, 2012 - Recent genetics studies of people with dementia and pathologically confirmed Lewy body disease is shedding light on how a person’s genes may influence their susceptibility to Lewy body dementias. A gene associated with a completely different disorder — Gaucher’s disease — may play a role.