Lewy Body Dementia
After Mom's death, we spoke with Dr. Alejandro Centurion, a neurologist practicing in Carmel, California, who signed her death certificate. He had examined Mom in April 2009 and found her largely unresponsive and unable to communicate, as he believes she probably had been for many months before. Dr. Centurion diagnosed Mom not with Parkinson's Disease, but with Lewy Body Dementia.
Lewy Body Dementia combines the symptoms of Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases, but is caused by abnormal protein deposits that disrupt the brain's normal functioning. These Lewy Body proteins are found in an area of the brain stem where they deplete the neurotransmitter dopamine, causing Parkinson's-like symptoms. These symptoms include progressive dementia and fluctuations in cognition, often involving detailed hallucinations and systematized delusions, depression and aggression; other Parkinson's-like symptoms include "Parkinson's mask," a shuffling gait, and sudden loss of consciousness/fainting.
For more information, visit the Lewy Body Dementia Association's website at http://www.lbda.org.