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Lewy Body Disease: Develops Earlier Than Previously Thought

1 month, 3 weeks ago

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Posted on Mar 26, 2024, 5 p.m.

Lewy body disease (LBD) is one of the most common causes of dementia, and it is associated with abnormal deposits of alpha-synuclein proteins found in the brain stem, the limbic system, and the cerebral cortex. These deposits can affect chemicals within the brain whose changes in turn can lead to problems with thinking, mood, behavior, and movement. 

LBD is the second most common form of brain degenerative disease after Alzheimer’s disease, affecting more than one million Americans alone, for which there is no known cure or prevention. 

LBD is hard to diagnose in its early stages as it progresses slowly, and it can occur alone or along with other brain disorders. It is a debilitating progressive disease with symptoms that often include but are not limited to cognitive decline, memory problems, changes in thinking abilities, psychiatric symptoms, as well as both sleep and movement disturbances, depression, mood swings, incontinence, muscle rigidity/stiffness, tremors, reduced facial expression, difficulty swallowing, and a weak voice progressing until eventual death. The symptoms typically show when people reach the age of 50 or older. However, this study suggests that Lewy body disease changes may begin in the brain in middle age even if symptoms have not begun to appear. 

For this study published in the journal Annals of Neurology, researchers from the Universities of Tampere and Helsinki investigated the occurrence of Lewy body disease markers in both young and middle-aged subjects who were not known to suffer from LBD or Parkinson’s disease, whereas similar studies typically investigate the occurrence of markers in those over the age of 60 years old. The team utilized internationally unique Finnish forensic autopsy data, consisting of approximately 600 people between the ages of 16-95 years old who died outside of hospitals.

"Our findings indicate that Lewy body disease may be more common in people over 50 than previously thought. In the study, we found disease changes in nine percent of people over 50 who did not have a clinical diagnosis of Parkinson's disease or Lewy body disease. However, further studies are needed to confirm the results," says Associate Professor Liisa Myllykangas from the University of Helsinki.

"Finding out the prevalence of disease changes in younger age groups is therefore important as this will be the most effective time to start therapies," said Myllykangas.

As with anything you read on the internet, this article should not be construed as medical advice; please talk to your doctor or primary care provider before changing your wellness routine. This article is not intended to provide a medical diagnosis, recommendation, treatment, or endorsement. These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. 

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References/Sources/Materials provided by:

https://www.helsinki.fi/en/news/healthier-world/common-degenerative-brain-disease-may-begin-develop-already-middle-age

https://www.helsinki.fi/en/

http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/ana.26912

https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/lewy-body-dementia/what-lewy-body-dementia-causes-symptoms-and-treatments.



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