Lewy body dementia

What causes Lewy body dementia?

The exact underlying cause of Lewy body dementia is poorly understood. The symptoms of the condition are thought to occur when clumps of a protein called alpha-synuclein accumulate in the regions of the brain involved in thinking, memory and movement. The build-up of these clumps (which are called "Lewy bodies") appears to be associated with a loss of certain neurons (nerve cells) in the brain that produce two important neurotransmitters (chemicals that act as messengers between brain cells). The neurotransmitter, acetylcholine, is important for memory and learning. The other, dopamine, plays an important role in behavior, cognition, movement, motivation, sleep, and mood.

Although Lewy body dementia usually occurs sporadically, more than one family member can rarely be affected. Studies of these families suggest that there may be a genetic component to the condition in some cases. For example, copy number variants or changes (mutations) in the SNCA gene have been reported in a few affected families. The APOE ε4 allele and mutations in the GBA gene have been associated with an increased risk of Lewy body dementia and the APOE ε2 allele with a decreased risk.

Last updated on 05-01-20

Is Lewy body dementia inherited?

Most cases of Lewy body dementia are not thought to be inherited. The condition generally occurs sporadically in people with no family history of the condition.

Rarely, the condition can affect more than one family member. Some of these cases appear to be due to single gene changes (mutations) that follow an autosomal dominant pattern of inheritance. Other familial cases do not follow a specific pattern of inheritance and likely have a multifactorial cause (associated with the effects of multiple genes in combination with lifestyle and environmental factors).

Last updated on 05-01-20

How might Lewy body dementia be treated?

The Lewy Body Dementia Association offers detailed and up-to-date information regarding the treatment and management of Lewy body dementia. Please click on the link to access this resource.

Last updated on 05-01-20

Where To Start

National Institute on Aging

The National Institute on Aging (NIA) leads a national program of research on the biomedical, social, and behavioral aspects of the aging process; the prevention of age-related diseases and disabilities; and the promotion of a better quality of life for all older Americans. Click on the link to view information on this topic.

Last updated on 04-27-20

Name: Lewy Body Dementia Association 912 Killian Hill Road SW, Suite 202C
Atlanta, GA, 30047, United States
Phone: 404-935-6444 Toll Free: 800-539-9767 Fax : 480-422-5434 Email: lbda@lbda.org Url: http://www.lbda.org/
Name: Lewy Body Dementia Resource Center (LBDRC) 750 West Broadway Suite 2R
Long Beach, NY, 11561, United States
Phone: 516-218-2026 Email: norma@lewybodyresourcecenter.org Url: https://lewybodyresourcecenter.org/

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