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1.  Imaging amyloid deposition in Lewy body diseases 
Neurology  2008;71(12):903-910.
Extrapyramidal motor symptoms precede dementia in Parkinson disease (PDD) by many years, whereas dementia occurs early in dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB). Despite this clinical distinction, the neuropsychological and neuropathologic features of these conditions overlap. In addition to widespread distribution of Lewy bodies, both diseases have variable burdens of neuritic plaques and neurofibrillary tangles characteristic of Alzheimer disease (AD).
To determine whether amyloid deposition, as assessed by PET imaging with the β-amyloid–binding compound Pittsburgh Compound B (PiB), can distinguish DLB from PDD, and to assess whether regional patterns of amyloid deposition correlate with specific motor or cognitive features.
Eight DLB, 7 PDD, 11 Parkinson disease (PD), 15 AD, and 37 normal control (NC) subjects underwent PiB-PET imaging and neuropsychological assessment. Amyloid burden was quantified using the PiB distribution volume ratio.
Cortical amyloid burden was higher in the DLB group than in the PDD group, comparable to the AD group. Amyloid deposition in the PDD group was low, comparable to the PD and NC groups. Relative to global cortical retention, occipital PiB retention was lower in the AD group than in the other groups. For the DLB, PDD, and PD groups, amyloid deposition in the parietal (lateral and precuneus)/posterior cingulate region was related to visuospatial impairment. Striatal PiB retention in the DLB and PDD groups was associated with less impaired motor function.
Global cortical amyloid burden is high in dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) but low in Parkinson disease dementia. These data suggest that β-amyloid may contribute selectively to the cognitive impairment of DLB and may contribute to the timing of dementia relative to the motor signs of parkinsonism.
= Automated Anatomic Labeling;
= Alzheimer disease;
= Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center;
= American version of the National Adult Reading Test;
= analysis of covariance;
= Blessed Dementia Scale;
= cerebral amyloid angiopathy;
= Clinical Dementia Rating;
= Clinical Dementia Rating Sum of Boxes;
= dementia with Lewy bodies;
= distribution volume ratio;
= Cued Selective Reminding Test;
= Free Selective Reminding Test;
= Hoehn and Yahr;
= Massachusetts General Hospital;
= Mini-Mental State Examination;
= normal control;
= neurofibrillary tangle;
= Neuropsychiatric Inventory Questionnaire;
= not significant;
= Parkinson disease;
= Parkinson disease dementia;
= Pittsburgh Compound B;
= region of interest;
= Statistical Parametric Mapping;
= UK Parkinson’s Disease Society Brain Bank Research Center;
= United Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale;
= Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale–Revised.
PMCID: PMC2637553  PMID: 18794492
2.  Brain amyloid and cognition in Lewy body diseases 
Many patients with Parkinson disease (PD) develop dementia (PDD), a syndrome that overlaps clinically and pathologically with dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB); PDD and DLB differ chiefly in the relative timing of dementia and parkinsonism. Brain amyloid deposition is an early feature of DLB and may account in part for its early dementia. We sought to confirm this hypothesis and also to determine whether amyloid accumulation contributes to cognitive impairment and dementia in the broad range of parkinsonian diseases.
29 cognitively normal PD, 14 PD subjects with mild cognitive impairment (PD-MCI), 18 with DLB, 12 with PDD and 85 healthy control subjects (HCS) underwent standardized neurologic and neuropsychological examinations and PiB imaging with PET. Apolipoprotein (APOE) genotypes were obtained in many patients. PiB retention was expressed as the distribution volume ratio using a cerebellar tissue reference.
PiB retention was significantly higher in DLB than in any of the other diagnostic groups. PiB retention did not differ across PDD, PD-MCI, PD, and HCS. Amyloid burden increased with age and with the presence of the APOEε4 allele in all patient groups. Only in the DLB group was amyloid deposition associated with impaired cognition.
DLB subjects have higher amyloid burden than subjects with PDD, PD-MCI, PD or HCS; amyloid deposits are linked to cognitive impairment only in DLB. Early amyloid deposits in DLB relative to PDD may account for their difference in the timing of dementia and parkinsonism.
PMCID: PMC3725259  PMID: 22693110
dementia; Lewy; Parkinson; amyloid; PiB
3.  Amyloid imaging of Lewy body-associated disorders 
Clinicopathologic studies of Parkinson disease dementia (PDD) and dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) commonly reveal abnormal β-amyloid deposition in addition to diffuse Lewy bodies (α-synuclein aggregates), but the relationship among these neuropathologic features and the development of dementia in these disorders remains uncertain.
To determine whether amyloid-βdeposition detected by PET imaging with Pittsburgh Compound B (PIB) distinguishes clinical subtypes of Lewy body-associated disorders.
Nine healthy controls (HC), eight PD with no cognitive impairment (PD-noCI), nine PD with mild cognitive impairment (PD-MCI), six dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) and fifteen PD with dementia (PDD) patients underwent [11C]-PIB PET imaging, clinical examination, and cognitive testing. The binding potential (BP) of PIB for predefined regions and the mean cortical BP (MCBP) were calculated for each participant. Annual longitudinal follow-up and postmortem examinations were performed on a subset of participants.
Regional PIB BPs and the proportion of individuals with abnormally elevated MCBP were not significantly different across participant groups. Elevated PIB binding was associated with worse global cognitive impairment in participants with Lewy body disorders but was not associated with any other clinical or neuropsychological features, including earlier onset or faster rate of progression of cognitive impairment.
These results suggest that the presence of fibrillar amyloid-βdoes not distinguish between clinical subtypes of Lewy body-associated disorders, although larger numbers are needed to more definitively rule out this association. Amyloid-βmay modify the severity of global cognitive impairment in individuals with Lewy body-associated dementia.
PMCID: PMC2978796  PMID: 20922808
Parkinson’s disease; Parkinson’s disease with dementia; Dementia with Lewy bodies; PET
4.  Resting bold fMRI differentiates dementia with Lewy bodies vs Alzheimer disease 
Neurology  2011;76(21):1797-1803.
Clinicopathologic phenotypes of dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) and Alzheimer disease (AD) often overlap, making discrimination difficult. We performed resting state blood oxygen level–dependent (BOLD) functional connectivity MRI (fcMRI) to determine whether there were differences between AD and DLB.
Participants (n = 88) enrolled in a longitudinal study of memory and aging underwent 3-T fcMRI. Clinical diagnoses of probable DLB (n = 15) were made according to published criteria. Cognitively normal control participants (n = 38) were selected for the absence of cerebral amyloid burden as imaged with Pittsburgh compound B (PiB). Probable AD cases (n = 35) met published criteria and had appreciable amyloid deposits with PiB imaging. Functional images were collected using a gradient spin-echo sequence sensitive to BOLD contrast (T2* weighting). Correlation maps selected a seed region in the combined bilateral precuneus.
Participants with DLB had a functional connectivity pattern for the precuneus seed region that was distinct from AD; both the DLB and AD groups had functional connectivity patterns that differed from the cognitively normal group. In the DLB group, we found increased connectivity between the precuneus and regions in the dorsal attention network and the putamen. In contrast, we found decreased connectivity between the precuneus and other task-negative default regions and visual cortices. There was also a reversal of connectivity in the right hippocampus.
Changes in functional connectivity in DLB indicate patterns of activation that are distinct from those seen in AD and may improve discrimination of DLB from AD and cognitively normal individuals. Since patterns of connectivity differ between AD and DLB groups, measurements of BOLD functional connectivity can shed further light on neuroanatomic connections that distinguish DLB from AD.
PMCID: PMC3100121  PMID: 21525427
5.  PET imaging of amyloid with Florbetapir F 18 and PET imaging of dopamine degeneration with 18F-AV-133 (florbenazine) in patients with Alzheimer’s disease and Lewy body disorders 
BMC Neurology  2014;14:79.
Biomarkers based on the underlying pathology of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and Dementia with Lewy Bodies (DLB) have the potential to improve diagnosis and understanding of the substrate for cognitive impairment in these disorders. The objective of this study was to compare the patterns of amyloid and dopamine PET imaging in patients with AD, DLB and Parkinson’s disease (PD) using the amyloid imaging agent florbetapir F 18 and 18F-AV-133 (florbenazine), a marker for vesicular monamine type 2 transporters (VMAT2).
Patients with DLB and AD, Parkinson’s disease (PD) and healthy controls (HC) were recruited for this study. On separate days, subjects received intravenous injections of florbetapir, and florbenazine. Amyloid burden and VMAT2 density were assessed quantitatively and by binary clinical interpretation. Imaging results for both tracers were compared across the four individual diagnostic groups and for combined groups based on underlying pathology (AD/DLB vs. PD/HC for amyloid burden and PD/DLB vs. AD/HC for VMAT binding) and correlated with measures of cognition and parkinsonism.
11 DLB, 10 AD, 5 PD, and 5 controls participated in the study. Amyloid binding was significantly higher in the combined AD/DLB patient group (n = 21) compared to the PD/HC groups (n = 10, mean SUVr: 1.42 vs. 1.07; p = 0.0006). VMAT2 density was significantly lower in the PD/DLB group (n = 16) compared to the AD/ HC group (n = 15; 1.83 vs. 2.97; p < 0.0001). Within the DLB group, there was a significant correlation between cognitive performance and striatal florbenazine binding (r = 0.73; p = 0.011).
The results of this study show significant differences in both florbetapir and florbenazine imaging that are consistent with expected pathology. In addition, VMAT density correlated significantly with cognitive impairment in DLB patients ( identifier: NCT00857506, registered March 5, 2009).
PMCID: PMC4027995  PMID: 24716655
PET imaging; Alzheimer’s disease; Parkinson’s disease; Biomarkers
6.  Demography, diagnostics, and medication in dementia with Lewy bodies and Parkinson’s disease with dementia: data from the Swedish Dementia Quality Registry (SveDem) 
Whether dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) and Parkinson’s disease with dementia (PDD) should be considered as one entity or two distinct conditions is a matter of controversy. The aim of this study was to compare the characteristics of DLB and PDD patients using data from the Swedish Dementia Quality Registry (SveDem).
SveDem is a national Web-based quality registry initiated to improve the quality of diagnostic workup, treatment, and care of patients with dementia across Sweden. Patients with newly diagnosed dementia of various types were registered in SveDem during the years 2007–2011. The current cross-sectional report is based on DLB (n = 487) and PDD (n = 297) patients. Demographic characteristics, diagnostic workup, Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) score, and medications were compared between DLB and PDD groups.
No gender differences were observed between the two study groups (P = 0.706). PDD patients were significantly younger than DLB patients at the time of diagnosis (74.8 versus 76.8 years, respectively; P < 0.001). A significantly higher prevalence of patients with MMSE score ≤24 were found in the PDD group (75.2% versus 67.6%; P = 0.030). The mean number of performed diagnostic modalities was significantly higher in the DLB group (4.9 ± 1.7) than in the PDD group (4.1 ± 1.6; P < 0.001). DLB patients were more likely than PDD patients to be treated with cholinesterase inhibitors (odds ratio = 2.5, 95% confidence interval = 1.8–3.5), whereas the use of memantine, antidepressants, and antipsychotics did not differ between the groups.
This study demonstrates several differences in the dementia work-up between DLB and PDD. The onset of dementia was significantly earlier in PDD, while treatment with cholinesterase inhibitors was more common in DLB patients. Severe cognitive impairment (MMSE score ≤24) was more frequent in the PDD group, whereas more diagnostic tests were used to confirm a DLB diagnosis. Some similarities also were found, such as gender distribution and use of memantine, antidepressants, and antipsychotics drugs. Further follow-up cost-effectiveness studies are needed to provide more evidence for workup and treatment guidelines of DLB and PDD.
PMCID: PMC3700781  PMID: 23847419
dementia with Lewy bodies; Parkinson’s disease with dementia; age; diagnostic approach; medication; Mini-Mental State Examination
7.  Performance on the dementia rating scale in Parkinson's disease with dementia and dementia with Lewy bodies: comparison with progressive supranuclear palsy and Alzheimer's disease 
Background: The relation between dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) and Parkinson's disease with dementia (PDD) is unknown.
Objectives: To compare the cognitive profiles of patients with DLB and PDD, and compare those with the performance of patients with a subcortical dementia (progressive supranuclear palsy) and a cortical dementia (Alzheimer's disease).
Design: Survey of cognitive features.
Setting: General community in Rogaland county, Norway, and a university dementia and movement disorder research centre in the USA.
Patients: 60 patients with DLB, 35 with PDD, 49 with progressive supranuclear palsy, and 29 with Alzheimer's disease, diagnosed by either standardised clinical procedures and criteria (all PDD and Alzheimer cases and 76% of cases of progressive supranuclear palsy), or necropsy (all DLB cases and 24% of cases of progressive supranuclear palsy). Level of dementia severity was matched using the total score on the dementia rating scale adjusted for age and education.
Main outcome measures: Dementia rating scale subscores corrected for age.
Results: No significant differences between the dementia rating scale subscores in the PDD and DLB groups were found in the severely demented patients; in patients with mild to moderate dementia the conceptualisation subscore was higher in PDD than in DLB (p = 0.03). Compared with Alzheimer's disease, PDD and DLB had higher memory subscores (p < 0.001) but lower initiation and perseveration (p = 0.008 and p=0.021) and construction subscores (p = 0.009 and p = 0.001). DLB patients had a lower conceptualisation subscore (p = 0.004). Compared with progressive supranuclear palsy, PDD and DLB patients had lower memory subscores (p < 0.001).
Conclusions: The cognitive profiles of patients with DLB and PDD were similar, but they differed from those of patients with Alzheimer's disease and progressive supranuclear palsy. The cognitive pattern in DLB and PDD probably reflects the superimposition of subcortical deficits upon deficits typically associated with Alzheimer's disease.
PMCID: PMC1738667  PMID: 12933921
8.  Dementia with Lewy Bodies versus Alzheimer's Disease and Parkinson's Disease Dementia: A Comparison of Cognitive Profiles 
Background and Purpose
It is particularly difficult to differentiate dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) from the related dementias of Alzheimer's disease (AD) and Parkinson's disease dementia (PDD). Few studies have been designed to comparatively analyze detailed neuropsychological assessments of DLB patients and patients with AD and PDD.
Three groups of patients participated in this study: 10 with DLB, 76 with AD, and 17 with PDD, who had been diagnosed as probable DLB, AD, and PDD, respectively, according to the clinical criteria of the consortium on DLB, National Institute of Neurological and Communicative Diseases and Stroke/Alzheimer's Disease and Related Disorder Association, and the clinical diagnostic criteria for PDD. All patients were evaluated by careful neurological examination with detailed neuropsychological testing.
Significant differences among the three groups were found for attention, memory, and executive function, which included tasks of backward digit span, three-word recall, verbal delayed recall, and the Stroop test. Post hoc analysis revealed that the deficiencies of attention on the digit span task were greater in the DLB group than in the AD and PDD groups. The scores for episodic verbal memory tasks were significantly lower in the DLB and AD groups than in the PDD group. The performance in frontal executive function, as indicated by the Stroop test, was significantly worse in the DLB and PDD groups than in the AD group.
The results of the present study show that the pattern of cognitive dysfunction, in terms of attention, episodic memory, and executive functions, differ between patients with DLB and patients with AD and PDD.
PMCID: PMC3079155  PMID: 21519522
dementia with lewy bodies; Alzheimer's disease; Parkinson's disease dementia; cognition; neuropsychology
9.  Striatal and extrastriatal dopamine transporter levels relate to cognition in Lewy body diseases: an 11C altropane positron emission tomography study 
The biological basis of cognitive impairment in parkinsonian diseases is believed to be multifactorial. We investigated the contribution of dopamine deficiency to cognition in Parkinson disease (PD) and dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) with dopamine transporter (DAT) imaging.
We acquired 11C altropane PET, magnetic resonance imaging and cognitive testing in 19 nondemented subjects with PD, 10 DLB and 17 healthy control subjects (HCS). We analyzed DAT concentration in putamen, caudate, anterior cingulate (AC), orbitofrontal and prefrontal regions, using the Standardized Uptake Volume Ratio with partial volume correction, and we related DAT concentration and global cortical thickness to neuropsychological performance.
DAT concentration in putamen and in caudate were similar in PD and DLB groups and significantly lower than in HCS. Reduced caudate DAT concentration was associated with worse Clinical Dementia Rating Scale–sum of boxes (CDR-SB) scores and visuospatial skills in DLB but not in PD or HCS groups. Adjusting for putamen DAT concentration, as a measure of severity of motor disease, caudate DAT concentration was lower in DLB than in PD. Higher AC DAT concentration was associated with lower putamen DAT concentration in DLB and with higher putamen DAT concentration in PD. Higher AC DAT concentration in DLB correlated with greater impairment in semantic memory and language.
Caudate and AC dopamine dysfunction contribute in opposing directions to cognitive impairment in DLB.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s13195-014-0052-7) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
PMCID: PMC4245149  PMID: 25429309
10.  Multimodality Imaging Characteristics of Dementia with Lewy Bodies 
Neurobiology of Aging  2011;33(9):2091-2105.
Dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) is the second most common cause of neurodegenerative dementia after Alzheimer's disease (AD). Our objective was to determine whether the 11C–Pittsburgh Compound-B (PiB) retention and regional hypometabolism on PET and regional cortical atrophy on MRI are complementary in characterizing patients with DLB and differentiating them from AD. We studied age, gender and education matched patients with a clinical diagnosis of DLB (n=21), AD (n=21), and cognitively normal subjects (n=42). Hippocampal atrophy, global cortical PiB retention and occipital lobe metabolism in combination distinguished DLB from AD better than any of the measurements alone (area under the receiver operating characteristic=0.98).Five of the DLB and AD patients who underwent autopsy were distinguished through multimodality imaging. These data demonstrate that MRI and PiB PET contribute to characterizing the distinct pathological mechanisms in patients with AD compared to DLB. Occipital and posterior parietotemporal lobe hypometabolism is a distinguishing feature of DLB and this regional hypometabolic pattern is independent of the amyloid pathology.
PMCID: PMC3288845  PMID: 22018896
Dementia with Lewy bodies; MRI; PET; FDG; PiB; Alzheimer's disease
11.  Thalamic cholinergic innervation is spared in Alzheimer disease compared to Parkinsonian disorders 
Neuroscience Letters  2012;514(2):169-172.
There are two major sources of cholinergic projections in the brain. The nucleus basalis of Meynert provides the principal cholinergic input of the cortical mantle and the pedunculopontine nucleus-laterodorsal tegmental complex (PPN-LDTC; hereafter referred to as PPN) provides the major cholinergic input to the thalamus. Cortical cholinergic denervation has previously been shown to be part of Alzheimer and parkinsonian dementia but there is less information about subcortical thalamic cholinergic denervation. We investigated thalamic cholinergic afferent integrity by measuring PPN-Thalamic (PPN-Thal) acetylcholinesterase (AChE) activity via PET imaging in Alzheimer (AD), Parkinson disease without dementia (PD), Parkinson disease with dementia (PDD) and dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB).
AD (n=13; mean age 75.4±5.5), PD (n=11; age 71.4±6.4), PDD (n=6; age 70.8±4.7), DLB (n=6; age 68.0±8.6) and normal controls (NC; n=14; age 69.0±7.5) subjects underwent AChE [11C]-methyl-4-piperidinyl propionate (PMP) PET imaging. PPN-Thal PET data were analyzed using the Nagatsuka method.
There were no significant differences in mean age between the groups (F=1.86, p=0.134). Kruskal-Wallis testing demonstrated a significant group effect for PPN-Thal AChE hydrolysis rates (F=9.62, P<0.0001). Compared to NC, reduced thalamic k3 hydrolysis rate was noted in subjects with PDD (−19.8%; AChE k3 hydrolysis rates 0.1072±0.0143 min−1), DLB (−17.4%; 0.1103±0.0112 min−1) and PD (−12.8%; 0.1165±0.0114 min−1). Each of these 3 subgroups were statistically different from AD subjects (−0.7%; 0.1326±0.0095 min−1) who showed relatively spared thalamic k3 hydrolysis rates which were comparable to NC (0.1336±0.0142 min−1).
Thalamic cholinergic denervation is present in PD, PDD, and DLB but not in AD. Neurodegenerative involvement of thalamic cholinergic afferent projections may contribute to disease-specific motor and cognitive abnormalities.
PMCID: PMC3320689  PMID: 22414859
Acetylcholine; [11C] PMP PET; Alzheimer disease; Parkinson disease; PPN; Parkinson disease with dementia
12.  Effect of levodopa on cognitive function in Parkinson's disease with and without dementia and dementia with Lewy bodies 
Levodopa (L‐dopa) is the gold standard treatment for Parkinson's disease, but a lack of clear efficacy combined with a perceived liability to neuropsychiatric side effects has limited L‐dopa use in patients with parkinsonism and dementia. Therefore, the effect of L‐dopa on the cognitive profile of dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) and Parkinson's disease with dementia (PDD) is unclear.
To ascertain the acute and long‐term effects of L‐dopa on aspects of attention and cognition in patients with DLB and PDD, and to compare these with the effects in Parkinson's disease.
Baseline cognitive and motor function was assessed off L‐dopa in patients with Parkinson's disease (n = 22), PDD (n = 27) and DLB (n = 11) using standard “bedside” measures and a computerised programme detecting reaction times and accuracy. All patients then underwent an acute L‐dopa challenge with subsequent subjective and objective analysis of alertness, verbal recall, reaction times and accuracy. The same parameters were measured after 3 months on L‐dopa to assess the prolonged effect.
Acute L‐dopa challenge considerably improved motor function and subjective alertness in all patients without compromising either reaction times or accuracy, but increased fluctuations were noted in both groups with dementia. Neuropsychiatric scores improved in patients with Parkinson's disease both with and without dementia on L‐dopa at 3 months. Although patients with Parkinson's disease also had better mean global cognitive function at this time, mean verbal attention and memory deteriorated, and patients with PDD had slower reaction times in some tests. No patient had a marked deterioration over this time. Patients with DLB did not experience any adverse cognitive or neuropsychiatric effects after 3 months of L‐dopa treatment.
The use of L‐dopa in patients with parkinsonism with dementia does not adversely affect cognitive function.
PMCID: PMC2077405  PMID: 16952917
13.  APOE ε4 Increases Risk for Dementia in Pure Synucleinopathies 
JAMA neurology  2013;70(2):223-228.
To test for an association between the apolipoprotein E (APOE) ε4 allele and dementias with synucleinopathy.
Genetic case-control association study.
Academic research.
Autopsied subjects were classified into 5 categories: dementia with high-level Alzheimer disease (AD) neuropathologic changes (NCs) but without Lewy body disease (LBD) NCs (AD group; n=244), dementia with LBDNCs and high-level ADNCs (LBD-AD group; n=224), dementia with LBDNCs and no or low levels of ADNCs (pure DLB [pDLB] group; n=91), Parkinson disease dementia (PDD) with no or low levels of ADNCs (n=81), and control group (n=269).
Main Outcome Measure
The APOE allele frequencies.
The APOE ε4 allele frequency was significantly higher in the AD (38.1%), LBD-AD (40.6%), pDLB (31.9%), and PDD (19.1%) groups compared with the control group (7.2%; overall χ42=185.25; P=5.56×10−39), and it was higher in the pDLB group than the PDD group (P=.01). In an age-adjusted and sex-adjusted dominant model, ε4 was strongly associated with AD (odds ratio, 9.9; 95% CI, 6.4–15.3), LBD-AD (odds ratio, 12.6; 95% CI, 8.1–19.8), pDLB (odds ratio, 6.1; 95% CI, 3.5–10.5), and PDD (odds ratio, 3.1; 95% CI, 1.7–5.6).
The APOE ε4 allele is a strong risk factor across the LBD spectrum and occurs at an increased frequency in pDLB relative to PDD. This suggests that ε4 increases the likelihood of presenting with dementia in the context of a pure synucleinopathy. The elevated ε4 frequency in the pDLB and PDD groups, in which the overall brain neuritic plaque burden was low, indicates that apoE might contribute to neurodegeneration through mechanisms unrelated to amyloid processing.
PMCID: PMC3580799  PMID: 23407718
14.  In vivo amyloid imaging in autopsy-confirmed Parkinson disease with dementia 
Neurology  2010;74(1):77-84.
To investigate the specificity of in vivo amyloid imaging with [11C]–Pittsburgh Compound B (PIB) in Parkinson disease dementia (PDD).
We performed detailed neuropathologic examination for 3 individuals with PDD who had PIB PET imaging within 15 months of death.
We observed elevated cortical uptake of [11C]-PIB on in vivo PET imaging in 2 of the 3 cases. At autopsy, all 3 individuals had abundant cortical Lewy bodies (Braak PD stage 6), and were classified as low-probability Alzheimer disease (AD) based on NIA-Reagan criteria. The 2 PIB-positive individuals had abundant diffuse Aβ plaques but only sparse neuritic plaques and intermediate neurofibrillary tangle pathology. The PIB-negative individual had rare diffuse plaques, no neuritic plaques, and low neurofibrillary tangle burden.
[11C]–Pittsburgh Compound B (PIB) PET is specific for fibrillar Aβ molecular pathology but not for pathologic diagnosis of comorbid Alzheimer disease in individuals with Parkinson disease dementia. The ability to specifically identify fibrillar Aβ amyloid in the setting of α-synucleinopathy makes [11C]-PIB PET a valuable tool for prospectively evaluating how the presence of Aβ amyloid influences the clinical course of dementia in patients with Lewy body disorders.
= Alzheimer disease;
= binding potentials;
= Clinical Dementia Rating;
= dementia of the Alzheimer type;
= dementia with Lewy bodies;
= distribution volume;
= Mental State Examination;
= Neuropsychiatric Inventory Questionnaire;
= Parkinson disease dementia;
= Pittsburgh Compound B;
= Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale.
PMCID: PMC2809026  PMID: 20038776
15.  Motor subtype and cognitive decline in Parkinson's disease, Parkinson's disease with dementia, and dementia with Lewy bodies 
A previous cross sectional study found over‐representation of a postural instability gait difficulty (PIGD) motor subtype in Parkinson's disease patients with dementia (PDD) and dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB), compared with Parkinson's disease (PD).
(1) To examine rates of cognitive and motor decline over two years in PD (n = 40), PDD (n = 42) and DLB (n = 41) subjects, compared with age matched controls (n = 41), (2) to record whether motor phenotypes of PD, PDD, and DLB subjects changed during the study, (3) to find out if cognitive and motor decline in PD was associated with baseline motor subtype, and (4) to report the incidence of dementia in PD patients in relation to baseline motor subtype.
Most of PDD and DLB participants were PIGD subtype at baseline assessment. In the non‐demented PD group, tremor dominant (TD) and PIGD subtypes were more evenly represented. Cognitive decline over two years was greater in PDD and DLB groups (mean decline in MMSE −4.5 and −3.9, respectively), compared with PD (−0.2) and controls (−0.3). There was an association between PIGD subtype and increased rate of cognitive decline within the PD group. Of 40 PD patients, 25% of the 16 PIGD subtype developed dementia over two years, compared with none of the 18 TD or six indeterminate phenotype cases (χ2 = 6.7, Fisher's exact test p<0.05).
A PIGD motor subtype is associated with a faster rate of cognitive decline in PD and may be considered a risk factor for incident dementia in PD.
PMCID: PMC2117449  PMID: 16614017
Lewy body disease; dementia; parkinsonism; motor subtype; progression
16.  Rivastigmine for the treatment of dementia associated with Parkinson’s disease 
Parkinson’s disease (PD) afflicts millions of people worldwide and leads to cognitive impairment or dementia in the majority of patients over time. Parkinson’s disease dementia (PDD) is characterized by deficits in attention, executive and visuospatial function, and memory. The clinical diagnostic criteria and neuropathology surrounding PDD remain controversial with evidence of overlap among PDD, dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) and Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Cortical cholinergic deficits are greater in PDD than in AD, and are well-correlated with the cognitive and neuropsychiatric dysfunction that occurs in PDD. Inhibition of acetylcholine metabolism is therefore a practical therapeutic strategy in PDD.
This review examines current evidence for rivastigmine (a cholinesterase/butyrylcholinesterase inhibitor) treatment in PDD. In addition to its efficacy, we examine the safety profile, side effects, and cost effectiveness of rivastigmine in PDD. Rivastigmine provides modest benefit in PDD and further long-term studies are needed to determine the effectiveness and safety of rivastigmine over time. Tolerability is a problem for many PDD patients treated with rivastigmine. Future studies of rivastigmine in PDD should focus on pragmatic outcomes such as time to need for nursing home placement, pharmacoeconomic outcomes and simultaneous patient/caregiver quality of life assessments.
PMCID: PMC2656320  PMID: 19300613
Parkinson’s disease; dementia; rivastigmine; cholinesterase inhibitor
17.  The role of levodopa in the management of dementia with Lewy bodies 
Background: One of the core clinical features of dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) is extrapyramidal syndrome (EPS). Levodopa is currently the gold standard oral therapy for Parkinson's disease (PD), but its use in DLB has been tempered by concerns of exacerbating neuropsychiatric symptoms.
Aim: To assess the efficacy and tolerability of L-dopa in managing EPS in DLB and to compare the motor response with that seen in PD and PD with dementia (PDD).
Method: EPS assessment consisted of the Unified Parkinson's Disease Rating Scale, motor subsection (UPDRS III), and finger tapping and walking tests. Patients with DLB were commenced on L-dopa. After 6 months, patients were examined in the "off" state, given L-dopa and assessed for motor responses. Identical assessments were performed in patients with PD and PDD also receiving L-dopa.
Results: Acute L-dopa challenge in 14 DLB patients yielded a mean 13.8% (p = 0.02) improvement in UPDRS III score, compared with 20.5% in PD (n = 28, p<0.0001) and 23% in PDD (n = 30, p<0.0001) respectively. Finger tapping scores increased (12.3% v 20% and 23%), while walking test scores decreased (32% v 41% and 67%). Of the DLB patients, 36% were classified as "responders" on L-dopa challenge, compared with 70% of the PDD and 57% of the PD patients. Nineteen DLB patients were treated for 6 months with L-dopa (mean daily dose 323 mg). Two withdrew prematurely with gastrointestinal symptoms and two with worsening confusion.
Conclusion: L-dopa was generally well tolerated in DLB but produced a significant motor response in only about one third of patients. Younger DLB cases were more likely to respond to dopaminergic treatment.
PMCID: PMC1739807  PMID: 16107351
18.  Aβ-amyloid deposition in patients with Parkinson disease at risk for development of dementia 
Neurology  2012;79(11):1161-1167.
The aim of our study was to examine the relationship between corticostriatal Aβ-amyloid deposition and cognitive dysfunction in a cohort of patients with Parkinson disease (PD) at risk for dementia.
This was a cross-sectional study of 40 patients with PD with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) or other known dementia risk factors. Subjects underwent dynamic Aβ-amyloid and vesicular monoamine transporter 2 PET imaging using [11C] Pittsburgh compound B (PiB) and [11C]dihydrotetrabenazine (DTBZ), respectively, and neuropsychological assessment. PiB and DTBZ PET data were analyzed using the Logan graphical method to determine cerebral PiB deposition relative to the cerebellar hemispheres and striatal DTBZ binding relative to occipital neocortex. Component z scores were calculated for individual cognitive domains (memory, visuospatial processing, working memory/attention, and executive function) and combined linearly for global estimation of cognition. Correlation of cognitive function and cortical PiB binding was investigated.
Elevated cerebral PiB binding at levels seen in patients with AD was infrequent (6 of 40 subjects). Mean cortical PiB binding in the entire cohort was 1.16 ± 0.16 (distribution volume ratio; range 0.96–1.78). A significant correlation was noted between cortical PiB binding and global composite cognitive function (r = −0.55, p < 0.005) as well as the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale score (r = −0.54, p = 0.0004).
Elevated cerebral Aβ-amyloid deposition at levels seen in Alzheimer disease is uncommon in subjects with PD at risk for dementia. In our sample, the prevalence of markedly elevated PiB binding was significantly lower than that found in prior studies of cognitively normal elderly individuals. Neocortical PiB binding correlated robustly with measures of cognitive impairment in our cohort.
PMCID: PMC3525303  PMID: 22933741
19.  Analysis of the Substantia Innominata Volume in Patients with Parkinson’s Disease with Dementia, Dementia with Lewy Bodies, and Alzheimer’s Disease 
Journal of Movement Disorders  2011;4(2):68-72.
Background and Purpose
The substantia innominata (SI) contains the nucleus basalis of Meynert, which is the major source of cholinergic input to the cerebral cortex. We hypothesized that degeneration of the SI and its relationship to general cognitive performance differs in amyloidopathy and synucleinopathy.
We used magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)-based volumetric analysis to evaluate the SI volume in patients with amnestic mild cognitive impairment (aMCI), Alzheimer’s disease (AD), Parkinson’s disease-mild cognitive impairment (PD-MCI), PD with dementia (PDD), dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB), and healthy elderly controls. The correlation between SI volume and general cognitive performance, measured using the Korean version of the Mini-Mental State Examination (K-MMSE), was examined.
Compared to control subjects, the mean normalized SI volume was significantly decreased in all of the other groups. The normalized SI volume did not differ between the subjects with PDD and DLB, whereas it was significantly smaller in subjects with PDD (p = 0.029) and DLB (p = 0.011) compared with AD. In subjects with PD-related cognitive impairment (PD-MCI, PDD, or DLB), there was a significant positive correlation between the SI volume and K-MMSE score (r = 0.366, p < 0.001), whereas no correlation was seen in subjects with AD-related cognitive impairment (aMCI or AD).
Our data suggest that the SI loss is greater in synucleinopathy-related dementia (PDD or DLB) than in AD and that the contribution of the SI to cognitive performance is greater in synucleinopathy than in amyloidopathy.
PMCID: PMC4027689  PMID: 24868398
The substantia innominata; Alzheimer’s disease; Parkinson’s disease-related cognitive dysfunction
20.  Visual recognition memory differentiates dementia with Lewy bodies and Parkinson's disease dementia 
To compare cognitive impairments in dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) and Parkinson's disease dementia (PDD), to discriminate between the two entities.
10 DLB and 12 PDD consecutive patients performed a neuropsychological battery designed to assess several cognitive domains: verbal and visual memory (Delayed Matching to Sample (DMS)‐48), language, gnosia, praxia and executive functions.
DLB patients had poorer performances in orientation (p<0.05), Trail Making Test A (p<0.05) and reading of names of colours in the Stroop Test (p<0.05). Their scores were also lower in the visual object recognition memory test (DMS‐48), in both immediate (p<0.05) and delayed recognition (p<0.05). No differences were observed in the other tests.
Despite global similarities in cognitive performances between DLB and PDD patients, we observed important differences: in particular, DMS‐48, a test of visual object recognition memory and visual storage capacity, was poorer in DLB patients.
PMCID: PMC2117680  PMID: 17287240
21.  Verbal Learning and Memory in Patients with Dementia with Lewy Bodies or Parkinson's Disease with Dementia 
This study compared verbal learning and memory in patients with autopsy-confirmed dementia with Lewy Bodies (DLB) and patients with Parkinson's disease with dementia (PDD). Twenty-four DLB patients, 24 PDD patients, and 24 normal comparison participants were administered the California Verbal Learning Test. The three groups were matched on demographic variables and the two patient groups were matched on the Mattis Dementia Rating Scale. The results indicated that DLB patients recalled less information than PDD patients on all but one recall measure and displayed a more rapid rate of forgetting. In contrast, the PDD patients committed a greater percent of perseveration errors than the DLB patients. The two groups did not differ in the percentage of recall intrusion errors or any measures of recognition. A discriminant function analysis (DFA) using short delay cued recall, percent perseveration errors, and list b recall, differentiated the DLB and PDD groups with 81.3% accuracy. The application of the DFA algorithm to another sample of 42 PDD patients resulted in a 78.6% correct classification rate. The results suggest that, despite equivalent levels of general cognitive impairment, patients with DLB or PDD exhibit a different pattern of verbal learning and memory deficits.
PMCID: PMC2935683  PMID: 19221922
22.  Comparison of cognitive decline between dementia with Lewy bodies and Alzheimer's disease: a cohort study 
BMJ Open  2012;2(1):e000380.
Dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) accounts for 10%–15% of dementia cases at autopsy and has distinct clinical features associated with earlier institutionalisation and a higher level of carer distress than are seen in Alzheimer's disease (AD). At present, there is on-going debate as to whether DLB is associated with a more rapid cognitive decline than AD. An understanding of the rate of decline of cognitive and non-cognitive symptoms in DLB may help patients and carers to plan for the future.
In this cohort study, the authors compared 100 AD and 58 DLB subjects at baseline and at 12-month follow-up on cognitive and neuropsychiatric measures.
Patients were recruited from 40 European centres.
Subjects with mild–moderate dementia. Diagnosis of DLB or AD required agreement between consensus panel clinical diagnosis and visual rating of 123I-FP-CIT (dopamine transporter) single photon emission computed tomography neuroimaging.
Outcome measures
The Cambridge Cognitive Examination including Mini-Mental State Examination and Neuropsychiatric Inventory (NPI).
The AD and DLB groups did not differ at baseline in terms of age, gender, Clinical Dementia Rating score and use of cholinesterase inhibitors or memantine. NPI and NPI carer distress scores were statistically significantly higher for DLB subjects at baseline and at follow-up, and there were no differences between AD and DLB in cognitive scores at baseline or at follow-up. There was no significant difference in rate of progression of any of the variables analysed.
DLB subjects had more neuropsychiatric features at baseline and at follow-up than AD, but the authors did not find any statistically significant difference in rate of progression between the mild–moderate AD and DLB groups on cognitive or neuropsychiatric measures over a 12-month follow-up period.
Article summary
Article focus
Dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) has distinct neuropsychiatric features.
At present, we do not know whether the poorer prognosis of DLB is due to a more rapid cognitive decline compared with Alzheimer's disease (AD).
Key messages
In this fairly large cohort of patients with DLB and AD, while there was no difference in level of cognitive impairment (Cambridge Cognitive Examination (CAMCOG) score) at baseline and at 12-month follow-up, DLB patients had significantly higher Neuropsychiatric Inventory (NPI) and NPI carer distress scores both at baseline and at 12-month follow-up.
Therefore, the worse prognosis of DLB is likely to be mediated by neuropsychiatric or other symptoms and not only by cognitive decline.
Strengths and limitations of this study
Inclusion of high number of subjects from 40 European clinical centres.
Well-characterised cases with both consensus panel clinical diagnosis (three clinical experts) and dopaminergic transporter single photon emission computed tomography imaging.
No autopsy data were available and therefore it is possible that more rapid cognitive decline may be present in pure DLB.
Only 1 year of follow-up.
There was higher attrition rate (no-follow-up assessment) in the DLB group, and DLB patients that did not return for follow-up were more impaired than AD patients.
PMCID: PMC3330257  PMID: 22318660
23.  Antemortem amyloid imaging and β-amyloid pathology in a case with dementia with Lewy Bodies 
Neurobiology of Aging  2010;33(5):878-885.
The association between antemortem [11C]-Pittsburgh Compound B (PiB) retention and β-amyloid (Aβ) load, Lewy body (LB) and neurofibrillary tangle (NFT) densities were investigated in a pathologically confirmed case of dementia with LB (DLB). 76-year-old man presenting with a clinical diagnosis of DLB had undergone PiB–positron emission tomography (PET), 18F FDG-PET and MRI 18 months before death. The pathologic diagnosis was DLB neocortical-type with low-likelihood of Alzheimer's disease by NIA-Reagan criteria. Sections from regions of interest (ROI) on post-mortem examination were studied. A significant correlation was found between cortical Aβ density and PiB retention in the 17 corresponding ROIs (r=0.899; p<0.0001). Bielschowsky silver stain revealed mostly sparse neocortical neuritic plaques; whereas diffuse plaques were frequent. There was no correlation between LB density and PiB retention (r=0.13; p=0.66); nor between NFT density and PiB retention (r=−0.36; p=0.17). The ROI-based analysis of imaging and histopathological data confirms that PiB uptake on PET is a specific marker for Aβ density, but cannot differentiate neuritic from diffuse amyloid plaques in this case with DLB.
PMCID: PMC3026854  PMID: 20961664
Dementia with Lewy bodies; amyloid imaging; PET; pathology; amyloid
24.  Amyloid is linked to cognitive decline in patients with Parkinson disease without dementia 
Neurology  2013;80(1):85-91.
To determine whether amyloid burden, as indexed by Pittsburgh compound B (PiB) retention, identifies patients with Parkinson disease with mild cognitive impairment (PD-MCI) compared to those with normal cognition (PD-nl). A related aim is to determine whether amyloid burden predicts cognitive decline in a cohort of subjects with PD without dementia.
In this prospective cohort study, we examined 46 subjects with PD without dementia, of whom 35 had normal cognition and 11 met criteria for PD-MCI at study baseline. All subjects underwent standardized neurologic and neuropsychological examinations and PiB PET at baseline, and clinical examinations were conducted annually for up to 5 years.
At baseline, precuneus PiB retention did not distinguish PD-MCI from PD-nl. Subjects with PD-MCI declined more rapidly than PD-nl subjects on cognitive tests of memory, executive function, and activation retrieval. Of the 35 PD-nl subjects, 8 progressed to PD-MCI and 1 to dementia; of the 11 PD-MCI subjects, 5 converted to dementia. Both higher PiB retention and a diagnosis of PD-MCI predicted a greater hazard of conversion to a more severe diagnosis. Baseline PiB retention predicted worsening in executive function over time. The APOE ε4 allele also related to worsening in executive function, as well as visuospatial function, activation retrieval, and performance on the Mini-Mental State Examination. In contrast to its relation to cognitive decline, PiB retention did not affect progression of motor impairment.
At baseline measurements, amyloid burden does not distinguish between cognitively impaired and unimpaired subjects with PD without dementia, but our data suggest that amyloid contributes to cognitive, but not motor, decline over time.
PMCID: PMC3589197  PMID: 23243071
25.  Incidence of Dementia with Lewy Bodies and Parkinson’s Disease Dementia 
JAMA neurology  2013;70(11):1396-1402.
Epidemiologic data on dementia with Lewy bodies (LBD) and Parkinson’s disease dementia (PDD) remain limited in the US and worldwide. These data are essential to guide research and clinical or public health interventions.
To investigate the incidence of DLB among residents of Olmsted County, MN, and compare it to the incidence of PDD.
The medical records-linkage system of the Rochester Epidemiology Project was used to identify all persons who developed parkinsonism and, in particular, DLB or PDD from 1991 through 2005 (15 years). A movement disorders specialist reviewed the complete medical records of each suspected patient to confirm the diagnosis.
Olmsted County, MN, from 1991 through 2005 (15 years).
Main Outcome Measure
Incidence of DLB and PDD.
All the residents of Olmsted County, MN who gave authorization for medical record research.
Among 542 incident cases of parkinsonism, 64 had DLB and 46 had PDD. The incidence rate of DLB was 3.5 per 100,000 person-years overall, and it increased steeply with age. Similarly, the incidence of PDD was 2.5 overall and also increased steeply with age. The incidence rate of DLB and PDD combined was 5.9. Patients with DLB were younger at onset of symptoms than patients with PDD and had more hallucinations and cognitive fluctuations. Men had a higher incidence of DLB than women across the age spectrum. The pathology was consistent with the clinical diagnosis in 24 of 31 patients who underwent autopsy (77.4%).
The overall incidence rate of DLB is lower than the rate for Parkinson’s disease. DLB risk increases steeply with age and is markedly higher in men. This men-to-women difference may suggest different etiologic mechanisms.
PMCID: PMC4181848  PMID: 24042491

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