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1.  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
2.  α4β2 nicotinic receptor status in Alzheimer's disease using 123I‐5IA‐85380 single‐photon‐emission computed tomography 
Loss of the α4β2 nicotinic receptor subtype is found at autopsy in Alzheimer's disease.
To investigate in vivo changes in this receptor using single‐photon‐emission CT (SPECT) with 123I‐5‐iodo‐3‐[2(S)‐2‐azetidinylmethoxy] pyridine (5IA‐85380), a novel nicotinic acetylcholine receptor ligand which binds predominantly to the α4β2 receptor.
32 non‐smoking subjects (16 with Alzheimer's disease and 16 normal elderly controls) underwent 123I‐5IA‐85380 and perfusion (99mTc‐hexamethylenepropyleneamine oxime (HMPAO)) SPECT scanning. Region of interest analysis was performed with cerebellar normalisation.
Significant bilateral reductions in nicotinic receptor binding were identified in frontal (left, p = 0.004; right, p = 0.002), striatal (left, p = 0.004; right, p = 0.003), right medial temporal (p = 0.04) and pons (p<0.001) in patients with AD compared to controls. There were no significant correlations with clinical or cognitive measures. The pattern of nicotinic binding significantly differed from that of perfusion in both patients with AD and controls. Both 123I‐5IA‐85380 and 99mTc‐HMPAO SPECT imaging demonstrated similar diagnostic performance in correctly classifying controls and patients with AD.
Using 123I‐5IA‐85380 SPECT we found changes consistent with significant reductions in the nicotinic α4β2 receptor in cortical and striatal brain regions. This method could facilitate diagnosis and may be useful for monitoring progression of the disease and response to treatment in patients with AD and related diseases.
PMCID: PMC2077777  PMID: 17135460
3.  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
4.  APOE and ACE polymorphisms and dementia risk in the older population over prolonged follow-up: 10 years of incidence in the MRC CFA Study 
Age and Ageing  2009;39(1):104-111.
Background: dementia risk conferred by apolipoprotein-E (APOE) and angiotensin-1-converting enzyme (ACE) polymorphisms have been reported for the MRC Cognitive Function and Ageing Study (CFAS) at 6-year follow-up. We concentrate on incident dementia risk over 10 years.
Methods: participants come from MRC CFAS, a multi-centre longitudinal population-based study of ageing in England and Wales. Three follow-up waves of data collection were used: 2, 6 and 10 years. Logistic regressions were undertaken to investigate associations between APOE (n = 955) and ACE (n = 856) alleles/genotypes and incident dementia. Two types of control groups were used: non-demented and highly functioning non-demented. Results were back-weighted.
Results: compared to APOE ε3, ε2 conferred protection of odds ratio (OR) = 0.3 (95% confidence interval, CI = 0.1–0.6) and ε4 risk of OR = 2.9 (95% CI = 1.7–4.9) for incident dementia. Compared to ε3/ε3, the ε3/ε4 and ε4/ε4 genotypes conferred risks of OR = 3.6 (95% CI = 1.8–7.3) and OR = 7.9 (95% CI = 1.6–39.2), respectively. The ε3/ε2 genotype protected against dementia (OR = 0.2, 95% CI = 0.1–0.7), and ε2/ε2 had a similar protective effect but with wide CIs (OR = 0.3, 95% CI = 0.1–1.7). Restricting the control group accentuated these differentials. The effects of ACE alleles/genotypes on incident dementia risk were small.
Conclusions: APOE but not ACE is associated with late-onset incident dementia in the population. Using longer term follow-up with proper adjustment for attrition and incident cases increases estimates of risk.
PMCID: PMC2794361  PMID: 19939808
apolipoprotein-E; angiotensin-1-converting enzyme; population; dementia; old
5.  Lewy bodies and neuronal loss in subcortical areas and disability in non-demented older people: a population based neuropathological cohort study 
BMC Geriatrics  2009;9:22.
Functional disability, the loss of ability to carry out daily tasks unaided, is a major adverse outcome more common with increasing age. The potential contribution of neuropathological changes in subcortical areas of the brain associated with normal ageing may be a contributing factor to this loss of function. This study investigates the clinicopathological relationship between functional ability during life and pathological correlates identified at post mortem in an UK population of older people (66–102 years).
The aim is to examine the clinicopathological correlates of functional disability in subcortical neuronal populations of non-demented elderly individuals.
156 non-demented participants in the brain donation programme of the Medical Research Council Cognitive Function and Ageing Study (MRC-CFAS) were included in this study. Neuropathological examination was based on the CERAD protocol; pathologies of interest were amyloid plaques, neurofibrillary tangles, Lewy bodies, vascular disease and neuronal loss. Self-reported functional ability was scored according to a combined activities of daily living and instrumental activities of daily living scale.
Functional disability was equally common in men and women over 65 years, and in both sexes disability was more common at older ages. Neuronal loss in several subcortical regions elevated the risk of functional disability by three-fold (95% CI 1.3–6.6). There was evidence for a relationship between Lewy bodies in the SN and functional disability.
Neuronal loss in subcortical regions is associated with functional disability in the older population. The causal relationships are not defined and require further investigation.
PMCID: PMC2706837  PMID: 19527486
6.  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
7.  Longitudinal change in 99mTcHMPAO cerebral perfusion SPECT in Parkinson's disease over one year 
Objective: To carry out a longitudinal study of perfusion in patients with Parkinson's disease and controls to find areas showing a reduction in perfusion over one year.
Methods: Two HMPAO cerebral perfusion scans were acquired one year apart in 30 subjects with Parkinson's disease (mean (SD) age, 76 (5) years) and 34 healthy comparison subjects (76 (7) years). Scans were normalised to the mean intensity in the cerebellum.
Results: Using SPM99 within groups to investigate regions that showed a decrease in perfusion between scans, it was found that in Parkinson's disease subjects but not controls there was a significant cluster in the frontal lobe (Brodmann area 10) where perfusion decreased over the year.
Conclusions: The progressive frontal perfusion deficits in Parkinson's disease are consistent with results from previous structural and neuropsychological studies suggesting frontal lobe involvement and executive dysfunction even in early Parkinson's disease.
PMCID: PMC1739344  PMID: 16170094
8.  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
10.  Differentiation of dementia with Lewy bodies from Alzheimer's disease using a dopaminergic presynaptic ligand 
Background: Dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) is one of the main differential diagnoses of Alzheimer's disease (AD). Key pathological features of patients with DLB are not only the presence of cerebral cortical neuronal loss, with Lewy bodies in surviving neurones, but also loss of nigrostriatal dopaminergic neurones, similar to that of Parkinson's disease (PD). In DLB there is 40–70% loss of striatal dopamine.
Objective: To determine if detection of this dopaminergic degeneration can help to distinguish DLB from AD during life.
Methods: The integrity of the nigrostriatal metabolism in 27 patients with DLB, 17 with AD, 19 drug naive patients with PD, and 16 controls was assessed using a dopaminergic presynaptic ligand, 123I-labelled 2ß-carbomethoxy-3ß-(4-iodophenyl)-N-(3-fluoropropyl)nortropane (FP-CIT), and single photon emission tomography (SPET). A SPET scan was carried out with a single slice, brain dedicated tomograph (SME 810) 3.5 hours after intravenous injection of 185 MBq FP-CIT. With occipital cortex used as a radioactivity uptake reference, ratios for the caudate nucleus and the anterior and posterior putamen of both hemispheres were calculated. All scans were also rated by a simple visual method.
Results: Both DLB and PD patients had significantly lower uptake of radioactivity than patients with AD (p<0.001) and controls (p<0.001) in the caudate nucleus and the anterior and posterior putamen.
Conclusion: FP-CIT SPET provides a means of distinguishing DLB from AD during life.
PMCID: PMC1737968  PMID: 12122169
11.  Volumetric MRI study of the caudate nucleus in patients with dementia with Lewy bodies, Alzheimer's disease, and vascular dementia 
Methods: T1weighted MR scans were acquired in elderly patients with DLB, AD, VaD, and healthy controls. Normalised volumetric measurements of the caudate nucleus were obtained and parkinsonian symptoms rated using Hoehn and Yahr staging.
Results: There were no significant differences in the volume of the caudate nucleus between patients with dementia. However, the left caudate volume was significantly reduced in AD and DLB compared with controls. Parkinsonian symptoms did not correlate with caudate nucleus volume.
Conclusions: Parkinsonian symptoms in DLB may be more closely coupled to neurochemical rather than structural changes in the caudate nucleus, and volumetric MRI analysis of caudate nucleus does not discriminate between patients with DLB, AD, and VaD.
PMCID: PMC1737796  PMID: 11861709
12.  White matter lesions on magnetic resonance imaging in dementia with Lewy bodies, Alzheimer's disease, vascular dementia, and normal aging 
OBJECTIVES—Alzheimer's disease and vascular dementia are associated with an increase in changes in white matter on MRI. The aims were to investigate whether white matter changes also occur in dementia with Lewy bodies and to examine the relation between white matter lesions and the cognitive and non-cognitive features of dementia with Lewy bodies, Alzheimer's disease, and vascular dementia.
METHODS—Proton density and T2 weighted images were obtained on a 1.0 Tesla MRI scanner in patients with dementia with Lewy bodies (consensus criteria; n=27, mean age=75.9 years), Alzheimer's disease (NINCDS/ADRDA; n=28, mean age=77.4 years), vascular dementia (NINDS/AIREN; n=25, mean age=76.8 years), and normal controls (n=26, mean age=76.2 years). Cognitive function, depressive symptoms, and psychotic features were assessed using a standardised protocol. Periventricular hyperintensities (PVHs), white matter hyperintensities (WMHs) and basal ganglia hyperintensities (BGHs) were visually rated blind to diagnosis using a semiquantitative scale.
RESULTS—Periventricular hyperintensities were positively correlated with age and were more severe in all dementia groups than controls. Total deep hyperintensities scores (WMHs plus BGHs) were significantly higher in all dementia groups than controls and higher in patients with vascular dementia than those with dementia with Lewy bodies or Alzheimer's disease. In all patients with dementia, frontal WMHs were associated with higher depression scores and occipital WMHs were associated with an absence of visual hallucinations and delusions.
CONCLUSION—In common with Alzheimer's disease and vascular dementia, PVHs and WMHs were significantly more extensive in dementia with Lewy bodies than in controls. This overlap between different dementias may reflect shared pathological mechanisms. The link between frontal WMHs and depression and the absence of occipital WMHs and psychotic symptoms has important implications for understanding the neurobiological basis of these symptoms.

PMCID: PMC1736409  PMID: 10369824
13.  EEG findings in dementia with Lewy bodies and Alzheimer's disease 
OBJECTIVES—To evaluate the role of the EEG in the diagnosis of dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB).
METHODS—Standard EEG recordings from 14 patients with DLB confirmed at postmortem were examined and were compared with the records from 11 patients with Alzheimer's disease confirmed at postmortem
RESULTS—Seventeen of the total of 19 records from the patients with DLB were abnormal. Thirteen showed loss of alpha activity as the dominant rhythm and half had slow wave transient activity in the temporal lobe areas. This slow wave transient activity correlated with a clinical history of loss of consciousness. The patients with Alzheimer's disease were less likely to show transient slow waves and tended to have less marked slowing of dominant rhythm.
CONCLUSIONS—The greater slowing of the EEG in DLB than in Alzheimer's disease may be related to a greater loss of choline acetyltransferase found in DLB. Temporal slow wave transients may be a useful diagnostic feature in DLB and may help to explain the transient disturbance of consciousness which is characteristic of the disorder.

PMCID: PMC1736269  PMID: 10084544
16.  Neuroleptic sensitivity in patients with senile dementia of Lewy body type. 
BMJ : British Medical Journal  1992;305(6855):673-678.
OBJECTIVE--To determine the outcome of administration of neuroleptics to patients with senile dementia of Lewy body type confirmed at necropsy. DESIGN--Retrospective analysis of clinical notes blind to neuropathological diagnosis. SETTING--Specialist psychogeriatric assessment units referring cases for necropsy to a teaching hospital neuropathology service. PATIENTS--41 elderly patients with diagnosis of either Alzheimer type dementia (n = 21) or Lewy body type dementia (n = 20) confirmed at necropsy. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES--Clinical state including extrapyramidal features before and after neuroleptic treatment and survival analysis of patients showing severe neuroleptic sensitivity compared with the remainder in the group. RESULTS--16 (80%) patients with Lewy body type dementia received neuroleptics, 13 (81%) of whom reacted adversely; in seven (54%) the reactions were severe. Survival analysis showed an increased mortality in the year after presentation to psychiatric services compared with patients with mild or no neuroleptic sensitivity (hazard ratio 2.70 (95% confidence interval 2.50-8.99); (chi 2 = 2.68, p = 0.05). By contrast, only one (7%) of 14 patients with Alzheimer type dementia given neuroleptics showed severe neuroleptic sensitivity. CONCLUSIONS--Severe, and often fatal, neuroleptic sensitivity may occur in elderly patients with confusion, dementia, or behavioural disturbance. Its occurrence may indicate senile dementia of Lewy body type and this feature has been included in clinical diagnostic criteria for this type of dementia.
PMCID: PMC1882909  PMID: 1356550
17.  Somatostatin content and receptors in the cerebral cortex of depressed and control subjects. 
Somatostatin-like immunoreactivity is reduced in the cerebrospinal fluid in depression and this is presumed to reflect alterations in cerebral somatostatinergic systems. We have examined this hypothesis by measuring this immunoreactivity and somatostatin receptors in post-mortem cortical tissue from depressed patients and control subjects. There was no significant difference in the temporal and occipital cortex in somatostatin-like immunoreactivity or in somatostatin receptor affinity and binding capacity between depressed and control groups. It is concluded that there may not be an alteration of cortical somatostatin function in depression.
PMCID: PMC1033085  PMID: 2900292

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