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1.  Semantic memory is impaired in both dementia with Lewy bodies and dementia of Alzheimer's type: a comparative neuropsychological study and literature review 
OBJECTIVE—To test the hypothesis that semantic impairment is present in both patients with dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) and those with dementia of Alzheimer's type (DAT).
METHODS—A comprehensive battery of neuropsychological tasks designed to assess semantic memory, visuoperceptual function, verbal fluency, and recognition memory was given to groups of patients with DLB (n=10), DAT (n=10) matched pairwise for age and mini mental state examination (MMSE), and age matched normal controls (n=15).
RESULTS—Both DLB and DAT groups exhibited impaired performance across the range of tasks designed to assess semantic memory. Whereas patients with DAT showed equivalent comprehension of written words and picture stimuli, patients with DLB demonstrated more severe semantic deficits for pictures than words. As in previous studies, patients with DLB but not those with DAT were found to have impaired visuoperceptual functioning. Letter and category fluency were equally reduced for the patients with DLB whereas performance on letter fluency was significantly better in the DAT group. Recognition memory for faces and words was impaired in both groups.
CONCLUSIONS—Semantic impairment is not limited to patients with DAT. Patients with DLB exhibit particular problems when required to access meaning from pictures that is most likely to arise from a combination of semantic and visuoperceptual impairments.

PMCID: PMC1737202  PMID: 11160461
2.  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
3.  Higher cortical deficits influence attentional processing in dementia with Lewy bodies, relative to patients with dementia of the Alzheimer's type and controls 
Attentional dysfunction is believed to be a prominent and distinguishing neuropsychological feature of dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB); yet, the specific nature of the attentional deficit and factors that can potentially influence attentional processing in DLB have not been fully defined.
To clarify the nature of the attentional deficit in early‐stage DLB relative to patients with early‐stage dementia of the Alzheimer's type (DAT) and elderly controls, and examine the effect of task complexity and type of cognitive load on attentional processing in DLB.
Attentional impairment and fluctuating attention were investigated in three groups of subjects—patients with clinical features of early probable DLB (n = 20), a group with early probable DAT (n = 19) and healthy elderly controls (n = 20)—using an experimental computerised reaction time paradigm.
Patients with DLB showed greater attentional impairment and fluctuations in attention relative to patients with DAT and elderly controls. The attentional deficit was generalised in nature but increased in magnitude as greater demands were placed on attentional selectivity. Attentional deficits in DLB were most pronounced under task conditions that required more active recruitment of executive control and visuospatial cognitive processes.
Attentional deficits in DLB are widespread and encompass all aspects of attentional function. Deficits in higher cortical function influence the degree of attentional impairment and fluctuating attention, suggesting that attentional processing in DLB is mediated by interacting cortical and subcortical mechanisms. These findings serve to clarify the nature of the attentional deficit in DLB and have potentially important ramifications for our understanding of the neurocognitive underpinnings of fluctuations.
PMCID: PMC2077555  PMID: 16772356
4.  Cognitive Profile of Idiopathic Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus 
Frontal lobe dysfunction is believed to be a primary cognitive symptom in idiopathic normal pressure hydrocephalus (iNPH); however, the neuropsychology of this disorder remains to be fully investigated. The objective of this study was to delineate a comprehensive profile of cognitive dysfunction in iNPH and evaluate the effects of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) shunt surgery on cognitive dysfunction.
A total of 32 iNPH patients underwent neuropsychological testing of memory, attention, language, executive function, and visuoperceptual and visuospatial abilities. Of these 32 patients, 26 were reevaluated approximately 1 year following CSF shunt surgery. The same battery of tests was performed on 32 patients with Alzheimer's disease (AD) and 30 healthy elderly controls.
The iNPH patients displayed baseline deficits in attention, executive function, memory, and visuoperceptual and visuospatial functions. Impairments of attention, executive function, and visuoperceptual and visuospatial abilities in iNPH patients were more severe than in those with AD, whereas the degree of memory impairment was comparable to that in AD patients. A significant improvement in executive function was observed following shunt surgery.
Patients with iNPH are impaired in various aspects of cognition involving both ‘frontal’ executive functions and ‘posterior cortical’ functions. Shunt treatment can ameliorate executive dysfunction.
PMCID: PMC3199897  PMID: 22163245
Executive dysfunction; Neuropsychology of dementia; Subcortical dementia; Visual perception; Visuospatial abilities
5.  Preclinical Polymodal Hallucinations for 13 Years before Dementia with Lewy Bodies 
Behavioural Neurology  2014;2014:694296.
Objective. We describe a case of dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) that presented long-lasting preclinical complex polymodal hallucinations. Background. Few studies have deeply investigated the characteristics of hallucinations in DLB, especially in the preclinical phase. Moreover, the clinical phenotype of mild cognitive impairment-(MCI-) DLB is poorly understood. Methods. The patient was followed for 4 years and a selective phenomenological and cognitive study was performed at the predementia stage. Results. The phenomenological study showed the presence of hypnagogic and hypnopompic hallucinations that allowed us to make a differential diagnosis between DLB and Charles Bonnet syndrome (CBS). The neuropsychological evaluation showed a multiple domain without amnesia MCI subtype with prefrontal dysexecutive, visuoperceptual, and visuospatial impairments and simultanagnosia, which has not previously been reported in MCI-DLB. Conclusions. This study extends the prognostic value of hallucinations for DLB to the preclinical phases. It supports and refines the MCI-DLB concept and identifies simultanagnosia as a possible early cognitive marker. Finally, it confirms an association between hallucinations and visuoperceptual impairments at an intermediate stage of the disease course and strongly supports the hypothesis that hallucinations in the earliest stages of DLB may reflect a narcolepsy-like REM-sleep disorder.
PMCID: PMC4020531  PMID: 24868122
6.  Comparison of Clinical Manifestation in Familial Alzheimer's disease and Dementia with Lewy Bodies 
Archives of neurology  2008;65(12):1634-1639.
The clinical delineation of Dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) and Alzheimer's disease (AD) remains unclear.
To compare the neuropsychological profiles of patients with clinically diagnosed Dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) and Alzheimer's disease (AD).
We first compared measures of memory, orientation, language, executive, visual perception and visual construction function between persons with DLB and AD in two Caribbean Hispanic cohorts, including a family dataset (DLB =89; AD: n=118) and an epidemiologic dataset (DLB: n=70; AD: n=157). DLB in the family sample was further divided into i) families with two or more affected family members (DLB), or ii) one affected family member (DLB). To determine whether observed differences in cognitive profiles were driven by heritable factors, we then repeated the analyses in the epidemiologic cohort excluding all familial cases. We applied general linear models adjusting for age, sex, education, disease duration, and APOE-ε4 genotype.
Persons with DLB were in both cohorts more severely impaired in orientation, visual construction and non verbal reasoning after controlling for potential confounders. Persons with 2 or more DLB cases per family had the most severe impairment in episodic and semantic memory, followed by those with one DLB case per family, then by those with AD. When familial AD and DLB cases were excluded from the analysis in the epidemiologic cohort, the differences between the AD and DLB groups persisted but were attenuated.
Compared to persons with AD, persons with DLB are more severely impaired in various cognitive domains, particularly orientation, visual perception and visual construction. The difference appears strong in familial rather than sporadic DLB. Whether this divergence in cognitive functions is caused by gene-gene or gene-environmental interactions remains unclear.
PMCID: PMC2633487  PMID: 19064751
7.  Fluctuating cognition in dementia with Lewy bodies and Alzheimer's disease is qualitatively distinct 
Objectives: To document and illustrate qualitative features of fluctuating cognition as described by care givers of patients with probable dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) and Alzheimer's disease (AD). To determine whether the quality of the fluctuations differs between DLB and AD. To examine the clinical utility of two recently developed rating scales.
Methods: Care givers of 13 patients with early probable DLB and 12 patients with early probable AD were interviewed using the Clinician Assessment of Fluctuation and the One Day Fluctuation Assessment Scale, both developed recently. Descriptions of fluctuating cognition were recorded verbatim, analysed, and rated.
Results: Descriptions of fluctuating cognition in DLB had a spontaneous, periodic, transient quality, which appeared to reflect an interruption in the ongoing flow of awareness or attention that impacted on functional abilities. Descriptions of fluctuations in AD frequently highlighted episodes of memory failure, or a more enduring state shift in the form of "good" and "bad" days, typically occurring in response to the cognitive demands of the immediate environment. These qualitative differences could be detected reliably by independent raters, but were not always captured in standard severity scores.
Conclusion: Fluctuations occuring in DLB have particular characteristics that are distinguishable from fluctuations occurring in AD. Interpretation and application of the fluctuation criterion continues to limit the diagnostic sensitivity of the consensus criteria for DLB. Findings suggest that explicit documentation and a wider appreciation of these distinctions could improve the reliability with which less experienced clinicians identify this core diagnostic feature in the clinical setting.
PMCID: PMC1738966  PMID: 14966152
8.  Visuospatial Deficits Predict Rate of Cognitive Decline in Autopsy-Verified Dementia with Lewy Bodies 
Neuropsychology  2008;22(6):729-737.
Dementia with Lewy Bodies (DLB) is often characterized by pronounced impairment in visuospatial skills, attention, and executive functions. However, the strength of the phenotypic expression of DLB varies and may be weaker in patients with extensive concomitant Alzheimer’s disease (AD). To determine whether strength of the DLB clinical phenotype impacts cognitive decline, visuospatial and language tests were retrospectively used to predict two-year rate of global cognitive decline in 22 autopsy-confirmed DLB patients (21 with concomitant AD) and 44 autopsy-confirmed “pure” AD patients. Generalized Estimating Equations (GEE) revealed a significant interaction such that poor baseline performances on tests of visuospatial skills were strongly associated with a rapid rate of cognitive decline in DLB but not AD (p < .001). No effect of confrontation naming was found. DLB patients with poor visuospatial skills had fewer neurofibrillary tangles and were more likely to experience visual hallucinations than those with better visuospatial skills. These results suggest that the severity of visuospatial deficits in DLB may identify those facing a particularly malignant disease course and may designate individuals whose clinical syndrome is impacted more by Lewy body formation than AD pathology.
PMCID: PMC2587484  PMID: 18999346
Dementia with Lewy bodies; cognitive decline; visuospatial skills; Alzheimer’s disease
9.  Pentagon copying is more impaired in dementia with Lewy bodies than in Alzheimer's disease 
OBJECTIVES—In many cases the clinical differentiation of patients with dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) from those with Alzheimer's disease (AD) has been difficult. Because many neuropsychological studies have reported greater visuospatial/constructional impairment in DLB than in AD, it was determined whether accuracy in copying the interlocking pentagons item on the mini mental state examination (MMSE) may be helpful in distinguishing patients with DLB from those with AD relatively early in the course of the dementia.
METHODS—All cases of neuropathologically proved DLB and AD in the Center for Alzheimer Disease and Related Disorders brain bank were retrospectively reviewed, and the first available MMSE for each was retrieved. Only patients with MMSE scores⩾13 were included, indicating mild to moderate dementia. The patients' copies of the interlocking pentagons were analyzed and graded as acceptable or unacceptable according to the original instructions for grading the MMSE.
RESULTS—Seventeen patients with DLB and 27 patients with AD were identified for whom MMSE with copies of the interlocking pentagons were available. Two patients with DLB (MMSEs 22 and 27) drew the pentagons acceptably, by contrast with 16 of the patients with AD (MMSEs 13-28). An unacceptable copy was associated with DLB with a sensitivity of 88% and a specificity of 59% (p=0.002).
CONCLUSIONS—For patients with MMSE scores⩾13, an inability to accurately copy the pentagons suggests that the diagnosis is more likely DLB than AD. The results confirm the work of others on visuospatial/constructional impairment in DLB and indicate that this feature may be helpful in its diagnosis.

PMCID: PMC1737321  PMID: 11254771
10.  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
11.  Covariant perfusion patterns provide clues to the origin of cognitive fluctuations and attentional dysfunction in Dementia with Lewy bodies 
International Psychogeriatrics / Ipa  2013;25(12):1917-1928.
Fluctuating cognition (FC), particularly in attention, is a core and defining symptom in dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) but is seen much less frequently in Alzheimer's dementia (AD). However, its neurobiological origin is poorly understood. The aim of our study was therefore to characterize perfusion patterns in DLB patients that are associated with the severity and frequency of FC as measured both clinically and using objective neuropsychological assessments.
Spatial covariance analyses were applied to data derived from single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) HMPAO brain imaging in 19 DLB and 23 AD patients. Patients underwent clinical assessment of their FC and cognitive function as well as objective testing of their attention.
Covariant perfusion principal components (PCs) were not associated with either FC or cognitive or attentional measures in AD. However, in DLB patients, the second PC (defined as DLB-cognitive motor pattern, DLB-PCI2) which was characterized by bilateral relative increases in cerebellum, basal ganglia, and supplementary motor areas and widespread bilateral decreases in parietal regions, positively correlated with poorer cognitive function, increased FC and worse attentional function measured both clinically and neurophysiologically (p < 0.05) as well as with the severity of bradykinesia (p = 0.04).
FC in DLB appears distinct from those seen in AD, and likely to be driven by internal neurobiological perturbations in brain circuitry as evidenced using spatial covariance analyses of cerebral perfusion. FC and certain aspects of attentional dysfunction in DLB may, in part, depend upon both distributed motor and non-motor networks.
PMCID: PMC3819183  PMID: 24148774
attention; Alzheimer’s disease; single photon emission computed tomography; SPECT; imaging
12.  Relative preservation of MMSE scores in autopsy-proven dementia with Lewy bodies 
Neurology  2009;73(14):1127-1133.
Recent studies raised questions about the severity of cognitive impairment associated with dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB). However, there have been few analyses of large, multicenter data registries for clinical–pathologic correlation.
We evaluated data from the National Alzheimer's Coordinating Center registry (n = 5,813 cases meeting initial inclusion criteria) and the University of Kentucky Alzheimer's Disease Center autopsy series (n = 527) to compare quantitatively the severity of cognitive impairment associated with DLB pathology vs Alzheimer disease (AD) and AD+DLB pathologies.
Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) scores showed that persons with pure DLB had cognitive impairment of relatively moderate severity (final MMSE score 15.6 ± 8.7) compared to patients with pure AD and AD+DLB (final MMSE score 10.7 ± 8.6 and 10.6 ± 8.6). Persons with pure DLB pathology from both data sets had more years of formal education and were more likely to be male. Differences in final MMSE scores were significant (p < 0.01) between pure DLB and both AD+DLB and pure AD even after correction for education level, gender, and MMSE–death interval. Even in cases with extensive neocortical LBs, the degree of cognitive impairment was most strongly related to the amount of concomitant AD-type neurofibrillary pathology.
Dementia with Lewy bodies can constitute a debilitating disease with associated psychiatric, motoric, and autonomic dysfunction. However, neocortical Lewy bodies are not a substrate for severe global cognitive impairment as assessed by the Mini-Mental State Examination. Instead, neocortical Lewy bodies appear to constitute or reflect an additive disease process, requiring Alzheimer disease or other concomitant brain diseases to induce severe global cognitive deterioration.
= Alzheimer disease;
= AD Center;
= Consortium to Establish a Registry for Alzheimer's Disease;
= dementia with Lewy bodies;
= Lewy bodies;
= Mini-Mental State Examination;
= National Alzheimer's Coordinating Center;
= neurofibrillary;
= National Institute of Aging-Reagan Institute;
= University of Kentucky Alzheimer's Disease Center.
PMCID: PMC2764396  PMID: 19805729
13.  Early Visuospatial Deficits Predict the Occurrence of Visual Hallucinations in Autopsy-Confirmed Dementia with Lewy Bodies 
The current study explored the value of visuospatial findings for predicting the occurrence of visual hallucinations (VH) in a sample of patients with Dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) compared to patients with Alzheimer’s disease (AD).
Retrospective analysis of 55 autopsy-confirmed DLB and 55 demographically-similar, autopsy-confirmed AD cases determined whether severe initial visuospatial deficits on the WISC-R Block Design subtest predicted the development of VH. Visuospatial deficits were considered severe if Block Design z-scores were 2.5 or more standard deviations below the mean of a well-characterized normal control group (Severe-VIS; DLB: n=35, AD: n=26) and otherwise were considered mild (Mild-VIS; DLB: n=20, AD: n=29).
Forty percent of the Severe-VIS DLB group had baseline VH compared to 0% of Mild-VIS DLB patients. Only 8% of the Severe-VIS and 3% Mild-VIS AD patients had baseline VH. During the follow-up period (mean=5.0 years), an additional 61% of the Severe-VIS but only 11% of the Mild-VIS DLB patients developed VH. In that period, 38% of the Severe-VIS and 20% of the Mild-VIS AD patients developed VH. After considering initial MMSE score and rate of decline, logistic regression analyses found that performance on Block Design significantly predicted the presence of VH in the DLB group but not the AD group.
The presence of early, severe deficits on neuropsychological tests of visuospatial skill increases the likelihood that patients with suspected DLB will develop the prototypical DLB syndrome. The presence of such deficits may identify those DLB patients whose syndrome is driven by alpha-synuclein pathology rather than AD pathology and may inform treatment plans as well as future research.
PMCID: PMC3260388  PMID: 21997600
Lewy body disease; Hallucinations, visual; Alzheimer’s disease; Visuospatial cognition
14.  Acetylcholinesterase Inhibitor Treatment is Associated with Relatively Slow Cognitive Decline in Patients with Alzheimer's Disease and AD + DLB 
Dementia can be caused by different diseases including Alzheimer's disease (AD), dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB), or both (AD + DLB). University of Kentucky AD Center pathologically-diagnosed AD and AD + DLB cases were evaluated who had three or more longitudinal antemortem mental status examinations (n = 156). Patients with important concomitant pathology (n = 5) or patients that were profoundly demented at recruitment (intake MMSE < 20; n = 86) were excluded to strengthen our ability to test the association of specific clinical and pathological indices. Patients with pathologically-diagnosed AD + DLB (n = 25) lost cognitive capacity faster than patients with AD alone (n = 40). In both diseases, treatment with acetylcholinesterase inhibitors was associated with a slower rate of cognitive decline.
PMCID: PMC2682919  PMID: 19158418
Acetycholinesterase; acetylcholinesterase inhibitors; Alzheimer's disease; cholinesterase; dementia with Lewy bodies; neuropathology
15.  Familial Aggregation of Dementia With Lewy Bodies 
Archives of Neurology  2011;68(1):90-93.
Familial aggregation of dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) remains unclear.
To determine the degree of family aggregation of DLB by comparing DLB risk between siblings of probands with clinically diagnosed DLB and siblings of probands with clinically diagnosed Alzheimer disease in a cohort of Caribbean Hispanic families and to explore the degree of aggregation of specific clinical manifestations (ie, cognitive fluctuations, visual hallucinations, and parkinsonism) in DLB.
Familial cohort study.
Academic research.
We separately compared risks of possible DLB, probable DLB, and clinical core features of DLB (cognitive fluctuations, visual hallucinations, and parkinsonism) between siblings of probands with clinically diagnosed DLB (n=344) and siblings of probands with clinically diagnosed Alzheimer disease (n=280) in 214 Caribbean Hispanic families with extended neurologic and neuropsychological assessment.
Main Outcome Measures
We applied general estimating equations to adjust for clustering within families. In these models, age and proband disease status were independent variables, and disease status of siblings was the measure of disease risk and the dependent variable.
Compared with siblings of probands having clinically diagnosed Alzheimer disease, siblings of probands having clinically diagnosed DLB had higher risks of probable DLB (odds ratio [OR], 2.29; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.04–5.04) and visual hallucinations (2.32; 1.16–4.64). They also had increased risks of possible DLB (OR, 1.51; 95% CI, 0.97–2.34) and cognitive fluctuations (1.55; 0.95–2.53).
Dementia with Lewy bodies and core features of DLB aggregate in families. Compared with siblings of probands having clinically diagnosed AD, siblings of probands having clinically diagnosed DLB are at increased risks of DLB and visual hallucinations. These findings are an important step in elucidating the genetic risk factors underlying DLB and in delineating DLB from other neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer disease.
PMCID: PMC3268781  PMID: 21220678
16.  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
17.  Autonomic dysfunction in dementia 
There are no studies of autonomic function comparing Alzheimer's disease (AD), vascular dementia (VAD), dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) and Parkinson's disease dementia (PDD).
To assess cardiovascular autonomic function in 39 patients with AD, 30 with VAD, 30 with DLB, 40 with PDD and 38 elderly controls by Ewing's battery of autonomic function tests and power spectral analysis of heart rate variability. To determine the prevalence of orthostatic hypotension and autonomic neuropathies by Ewing's classification.
There were significant differences in severity of cardiovascular autonomic dysfunction between the four types of dementia. PDD and DLB had considerable dysfunction. VAD showed limited evidence of autonomic dysfunction and in AD, apart from orthostatic hypotension, autonomic functions were relatively unimpaired. PDD showed consistent impairment of both parasympathetic and sympathetic function tests in comparison with controls (all p<0.001) and AD (all p<0.03). DLB showed impairment of parasympathetic function (all p<0.05) and one of the sympathetic tests in comparison with controls (orthostasis; p = 0.02). PDD had significantly more impairment than DLB in some autonomic parameters (Valsalva ratio: p = 0.024; response to isometric exercise: p = 0.002). Patients with VAD showed impairment in two parasympathetic tests (orthostasis: p = 0.02; Valsalva ratio: p = 0.08) and one sympathetic test (orthostasis: p = 0.04). These results were in contrast with AD patients who only showed impairment in one sympathetic response (orthostasis: p = 0.004). The prevalence of orthostatic hypotension and autonomic neuropathies was higher in all dementias than in controls (all p<0.05).
Autonomic dysfunction occurs in all common dementias but is especially prominent in PDD with important treatment implications.
PMCID: PMC2117678  PMID: 17178816
18.  Qualitative performance characteristics differentiate dementia with Lewy bodies and Alzheimer's disease 
Objectives: To determine whether dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) and Alzheimer's disease (AD) can be differentiated on the basis of qualitative performance characteristics during neuropsychological evaluation.
Methods: Forty one patients with clinically defined DLB were matched with 26 patients with AD for age, illness duration, nature and severity of cognitive deficits, and regional blood flow distribution on SPECT. The presence or absence of a set of qualitative performance characteristics, observed and recorded during the patients' initial cognitive evaluation, was identified by retrospective analysis of patients' records and the groups compared.
Results: Inattention, visual distractibility, impairments in establishing and shifting mental set, incoherence, confabulatory responses, perseveration, and intrusions were significantly more common in DLB than AD. Intrusions were particularly common in DLB, occurring in 78% of the group. They included externally cued intrusions arising from the visual environment, a feature never seen in AD. In a stepwise logistic regression analysis impaired mental set shifting, perseveration, and the presence of intrusions correctly classified 79% of patients.
Conclusion: It is possible to differentiate DLB and AD on the basis of qualitative features of performance. As many features are amenable to detection at clinical interview, they ought to contribute to clinicians' diagnostic armoury, leading to improved clinical recognition of DLB.
PMCID: PMC1737879  PMID: 11971046
19.  Detection of visuoperceptual deficits in preclinical and mild Alzheimer’s disease 
Exhaustive neuropsychological assessment of mild cognitive impairment (MCI) subjects frequently identifies cognitive deficits other than memory. However, visuoperception has rarely been investigated in MCI. The 15-Objects Test (15-OT), a visual discrimination task based on the Poppelreuter Test, consists of 15 overlapping objects. Poppelreuter-type tests are frequently used to detect visual agnosia. However, more complex tests, such as the 15-OT, are required to detect visuoperceptual signs in those patients who perform correctly on simple tests. The aim of the present study was to investigate visuoperceptual deficits in MCI patients and to assess the usefulness of the 15-OT to discriminate Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and MCI patients from controls. The 15-OT, and a neuropsychological battery included in the diagnostic assessment, was administered to 44 healthy controls, 44 MCI patients, and 44 mild AD patients. Performance on the 15-OT was significantly different between groups. MCI scored between AD and controls. When MCI and AD patients had relatively normal performance on simple tests (Poppelreuter), increased significant abnormalities were found by a more difficult visuoperceptual test (15-OT). Regression analyses showed that the 15-OT was a significant predictor of group membership, but the Poppelreuter Test did not significantly contribute to the models. Visuoperceptual processing is impaired early in the clinical course of AD. The 15-OT allows detection of visuoperceptual deficits in the preclinical and mild AD stages, when classical tests are still unable to detect subtle deficits. So, its inclusion in neuropsychological batteries that are nowadays used in the clinical practice would allow increasing their diagnostic potential.
PMCID: PMC2834652  PMID: 19142775
Visual discrimination; Visuoperceptual; Mild cognitive impairment; Alzheimer’s disease
20.  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
21.  Visuospatial Function in Early Alzheimer’s Disease—The Use of the Visual Object and Space Perception (VOSP) Battery 
PLoS ONE  2013;8(7):e68398.
Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is the most frequent cause of dementia. The clinical symptoms of AD begin with impairment of memory and executive function followed by the gradual involvement of other functions, such as language, semantic knowledge, abstract thinking, attention, and visuospatial abilities. Visuospatial function involves the identification of a stimulus and its location and can be impaired at the beginning of AD. The Visual Object and Space Perception (VOSP) battery evaluates visuospatial function, while minimizing the interference of other cognitive functions.
To evaluate visuospatial function in early AD patients using the VOSP and determine cutoff scores to differentiate between cognitively healthy individuals and AD patients.
Thirty-one patients with mild AD and forty-four healthy elderly were evaluated using a neuropsychological battery and the VOSP.
In the VOSP, the AD patients performed more poorly in all subtests examining object perception and in two subtests examining space perception (Number Location and Cube Analysis). The VOSP showed good accuracy and good correlation with tests measuring visuospatial function.
Visuospatial function is impaired in the early stages of AD. The VOSP battery is a sensitive battery test for visuospatial deficits with minimal interference by other cognitive functions.
PMCID: PMC3713013  PMID: 23874610
22.  Selective Molecular Alterations in the Autophagy Pathway in Patients with Lewy Body Disease and in Models of α-Synucleinopathy 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(2):e9313.
Lewy body disease is a heterogeneous group of neurodegenerative disorders characterized by α-synuclein accumulation that includes dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) and Parkinson's Disease (PD). Recent evidence suggests that impairment of lysosomal pathways (i.e. autophagy) involved in α-synuclein clearance might play an important role. For this reason, we sought to examine the expression levels of members of the autophagy pathway in brains of patients with DLB and Alzheimer's Disease (AD) and in α-synuclein transgenic mice.
Methodology/Principal Findings
By immunoblot analysis, compared to controls and AD, in DLB cases levels of mTor were elevated and Atg7 were reduced. Levels of other components of the autophagy pathway such as Atg5, Atg10, Atg12 and Beclin-1 were not different in DLB compared to controls. In DLB brains, mTor was more abundant in neurons displaying α-synuclein accumulation. These neurons also showed abnormal expression of lysosomal markers such as LC3, and ultrastructural analysis revealed the presence of abundant and abnormal autophagosomes. Similar alterations were observed in the brains of α-synuclein transgenic mice. Intra-cerebral infusion of rapamycin, an inhibitor of mTor, or injection of a lentiviral vector expressing Atg7 resulted in reduced accumulation of α-synuclein in transgenic mice and amelioration of associated neurodegenerative alterations.
This study supports the notion that defects in the autophagy pathway and more specifically in mTor and Atg7 are associated with neurodegeneration in DLB cases and α-synuclein transgenic models and supports the possibility that modulators of the autophagy pathway might have potential therapeutic effects.
PMCID: PMC2824828  PMID: 20174468
23.  Cognitive and Neuropsychiatric Profile of the Synucleinopathies: Parkinson's Disease, Dementia with Lewy Bodies and Multiple System Atrophy 
Parkinson's Disease (PD), multiple system atrophy (MSA) and dementia with Lewy Bodies (DLB) share α-synuclein immunoreactivity 1. These “synucleinopathies” have overlapping signs and symptoms, but less is known about similarities and differences in their cognitive and neuropsychiatric profiles. We compared the cognitive and neuropsychiatric profiles of individuals with PD, MSA and DLB. Overall, the DLB group showed the most cognitive impairment, the MSA group demonstrated milder impairment and the PD group was the least cognitively impaired. The DLB and MSA groups showed worse executive function and visuospatial skills than PD, while DLB showed impaired memory relative to both PD and MSA. On the neuropsychiatric screening, all groups endorsed depression and anxiety; the DLB group alone endorsed delusions and disinhibition. Consistent with their greater level of cognitive and neuropsychiatric impairment, the DLB group showed the greatest amount of functional impairment on a measure of instrumental ADLs (FAQ). We found that MSA subjects had cognitive difficulties that fell between the mild deficits of the PD group and the more severe deficits of the DLB group. PD, MSA and DLB groups have similar neuropsychiatric profiles of increased depression and anxiety. Similar underlying α-synuclein pathology may contribute to these shared features.
PMCID: PMC2886667  PMID: 19935145
Parkinson's Disease; Dementia with Lewy Bodies; multiple system atrophy; dementia; alpha-synuclein
24.  Validation of the Neuropathologic Criteria of the Third Consortium for Dementia with Lewy Bodies for Prospectively Diagnosed Cases 
There is limited information on the validity of the pathological criteria of the Third Consortium on Dementia with Lewy bodies (CDLB) and none based upon prospectively diagnosed cases. In this study the core clinical features of dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) and the suggestive clinical feature of rapid eye movement sleep behavior disorder were assessed using a battery of standardized clinical instruments in 76 patients with the clinical diagnosis of either DLB or Alzheimer disease. At autopsy, 29 patients had high-likelihood, 17 had intermediate-likelihood and 6 had low-likelihood DLB pathology. The frequency of core clinical features and the accuracy of the clinical diagnosis of probable DLB were significantly greater in high-likelihood than in low-likelihood cases. This is consistent with the concept that the DLB clinical syndrome is directly related to Lewy body pathology and inversely related to Alzheimer pathology. Thus, the Third CDLB neuropathological criteria scheme performed reasonably well and is useful for estimating the likelihood of the premortem DLB syndrome based upon postmortem findings. In view of differences in the frequency of clinically probable DLB in cases with Braak NFT stages V (90%) and VI (20%) and diffuse cortical Lewy bodies, a possible modification of the scheme considering cases with NFT stage VI to be low-likelihood DLB is suggested.
PMCID: PMC2745052  PMID: 18596548
Alzheimer disease; α-synuclein; Clinicopathologic correlation; Diagnostic criteria; Dementia with Lewy bodies; Prospective study; REM behavior disorder
25.  Visual cortex in dementia with Lewy bodies: magnetic resonance imaging study 
The British Journal of Psychiatry  2012;200(6):491-498.
Visual hallucinations and visuoperceptual deficits are common in dementia with Lewy bodies, suggesting that cortical visual function may be abnormal.
To investigate: (1) cortical visual function using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI); and (2) the nature and severity of perfusion deficits in visual areas using arterial spin labelling (ASL)-MRI.
In total, 17 participants with dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB group) and 19 similarly aged controls were presented with simple visual stimuli (checkerboard, moving dots, and objects) during fMRI and subsequently underwent ASL-MRI (DLB group n = 15, control group n = 19).
Functional activations were evident in visual areas in both the DLB and control groups in response to checkerboard and objects stimuli but reduced visual area V5/MT (middle temporal) activation occurred in the DLB group in response to motion stimuli. Posterior cortical perfusion deficits occurred in the DLB group, particularly in higher visual areas.
Higher visual areas, particularly occipito-parietal, appear abnormal in dementia with Lewy bodies, while there is a preservation of function in lower visual areas (V1 and V2/3).
PMCID: PMC3365275  PMID: 22500014

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