Alterations in the visual system may underlie visual hallucinations in dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB). However, cortical excitability as measured by transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) activation of lower visual areas (V1–3) to visual stimuli appear normal in DLB. We explored the relationship between TMS-determined phosphene threshold and fMRI-related visual activation and found a positive relationship between the two in controls but a negative one in DLB. This double dissociation suggests a loss of inhibition in the visual system in DLB, which may predispose individuals to visual dysfunction and visual hallucinations.
Little is known about the patterns of brain atrophy in prodromal dementia with Lewy bodies (pro-DLB).
In this study, we used SPM8 with diffeomorphic anatomical registration through exponentiated lie algebra to measure grey matter (GM) volume and investigate patterns of GM atrophy in pro-DLB (n = 28) and prodromal Alzheimer’s disease (pro-AD) (n = 27) and compared and contrasted them with those in elderly control subjects (n = 33) (P ≤ 0.05 corrected for family-wise error).
Patients with pro-DLB showed diminished GM volumes of bilateral insulae and right anterior cingulate cortex compared with control subjects. Comparison of GM volume between patients with pro-AD and control subjects showed a more extensive pattern, with volume reductions in temporal (hippocampi and superior and middle gyri), parietal and frontal structures in the former. Direct comparison of prodromal groups suggested that more atrophy was evident in the parietal lobes of patients with pro-AD than patients with pro-DLB. In patients with pro-DLB, we found that visual hallucinations were associated with relative atrophy of the left cuneus.
Atrophy in pro-DLB involves the insulae and anterior cingulate cortex, regions rich in von Economo neurons, which we speculate may contribute to the early clinical phenotype of pro-DLB.
Prodromal dementia with Lewy bodies; Dementia with Lewy bodies; Alzheimer’s disease; Alzheimer’s dementia; Prodromal Alzheimer’s disease; Lewy body disease; Mild cognitive impairment; MRI; Insula
Differential diagnosis of Alzheimer's disease (AD) and dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) remains challenging; currently the best discriminator is striatal dopaminergic imaging. However this modality fails to identify 15–20% of DLB cases and thus other biomarkers may be useful. It is recognised electroencephalography (EEG) slowing and relative medial temporal lobe preservation are supportive features of DLB, although individually they lack diagnostic accuracy. Therefore, we investigated whether combined EEG and MRI indices could assist in the differential diagnosis of AD and DLB.
Seventy two participants (21 Controls, 30 AD, 21 DLB) underwent resting EEG and 3 T MR imaging. Six EEG classifiers previously generated using support vector machine algorithms were applied to the present dataset. MRI index was derived from medial temporal atrophy (MTA) ratings. Logistic regression analysis identified EEG predictors of AD and DLB. A combined EEG-MRI model was then generated to examine whether there was an improvement in classification compared to individual modalities.
For EEG, two classifiers predicted AD and DLB (model: χ2 = 22.1, df = 2, p < 0.001, Nagelkerke R2 = 0.47, classification = 77% (AD 87%, DLB 62%)). For MRI, MTA also predicted AD and DLB (model: χ2 = 6.5, df = 1, p = 0.01, Nagelkerke R2 = 0.16, classification = 67% (77% AD, 52% DLB). However, a combined EEG-MRI model showed greater prediction in AD and DLB (model: χ2 = 31.1, df = 3, p < 0.001, Nagelkerke R2 = 0.62, classification = 90% (93% AD, 86% DLB)).
While suggestive and requiring validation, diagnostic performance could be improved by combining EEG and MRI, and may represent an alternative to dopaminergic imaging.
MRI; EEG; Alzheimer's disease; Dementia with Lewy bodies; Differential diagnosis; Dopaminergic imaging
Alzheimer's disease (AD) is characterized by widespread degeneration of cholinergic neurons, particularly in the basal forebrain. However, the pattern of these deficits and relationship with known brain networks is unknown. In this study, we sought to clarify this and used 123I-5-iodo-3-[2(S)-2-azetidinylmethoxy] pyridine (1235IA-85380) single photon emission computed tomography to investigate spatial covariance of α4β2 nicotinic acetylcholine receptors in AD and healthy controls. Thirteen AD and 16 controls underwent 1235IA-85380 and regional cerebral blood flow (99mTc-exametazime) single photon emission computed tomography scanning. We applied voxel principal component (PC) analysis, generating series of principal component images representing common intercorrelated voxels across subjects. Linear regression generated specific α4β2 and regional cerebral blood flow covariance patterns that differentiated AD from controls. The α4β2 pattern showed relative decreased uptake in numerous brain regions implicating several networks including default mode, salience, and Papez hubs. Thus, as well as basal forebrain and brainstem cholinergic system dysfunction, cholinergic deficits mediated through nicotinic acetylcholine receptors could be evident within key networks in AD. These findings may be important for the pathophysiology of AD and its associated cognitive and behavioral phenotypes.
Alzheimer's disease; Cholinergic; Acetylcholine; Nicotinic; Spatial covariance; SPECT
The Medio-Dorsal Nuclei (MDN) including the thalamic magnocellular and parvocellular thalamic regions has been implicated in verbal memory function. In a 77 year old lady, with a prior history of a clinically silent infarct of the left MDN, we observed the acute onset of spontaneous confabulations when an isolated new infarct occurred in the right MDN. The patient and five age-matched healthy subjects underwent Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and Diffusion Tensor Imaging (DTI). The thalamic lesions were localized by overlapping Morel Thalamic Atlas with structural MRI data. DTI was used to assess: i) white matter alterations (Fractional Anisotropy, FA) within fibers connecting the ischemic areas to cortex; ii) the micro-structural damage (Mean Diffusivity) within the thalamic sub-regions defined by their structural connectivity to the Anterior Cingulate Cortex (ACC) and to the temporal lobes. These target regions were chosen because their damage is considered associated with the appearance of confabulations. Thalamic lesions were localized within the parvocellular regions of the right and left MDNs. The structural connectivity study showed that the fiber tracts, connecting the bilaterally damaged thalamic regions with the frontal cortex, corresponded to the anterior thalamic radiations (ATR). FA within these tracts was significantly lower in the patient as compared to controls. Mean diffusivity within the MDNs projecting to Broadman area (BA) 24, BA25 and BA32 of ACC was significantly higher in the patient than in control group. Mean diffusivity values within the MDN projecting to temporal lobes in contrast were not different between patient and controls. Our findings suggest the involvement of bilateral MDNs projections to ACC in the genesis of confabulations and help provide clarity to the longstanding debate on the origin of confabulations.
•Isolated and symmetric lacunar lesions were located in the medio-dorsal thalamus.•DTI shows disconnections between medio-dorsal thalamus and anterior cingulate cortex.•Medio-dorsal thalamus may have a role in the genesis of confabulations.
ACoA, Anterior communicating artery; ACC, Anterior Cingulate Cortex; AN, Anterior thalamic nuclei; ATR, Anterior thalamic radiations; BA, Broadman area; BEDPOSTX, Bayesian Estimation of Diffusion Parameters obtained using Sampling; BET, Brain Extraction Tool; CSF, cerebrospinal fluid; DTI, Diffusion Tensor Imaging; DWI-SE, Diffusion Weighted Image Spin-Echo; FA, Fractional Anisotropy; FAST, FMRIB's Automated Segmentation Tool; FIRST, FMRIB's Integrated Registration and Segmentation Tool; FNIRT, FMRIB's Non-Linear Registration Tools; FLIRT, FMRIB's Linear Image Registration Tool; KS, Korsakoff Syndrome; MDN, Medio-dorsal thalamic nuclei; MNI, Montreal Neurological Institute (MNI); MRI, Magnetic Resonance Imaging; SUSAN, Smallest Univalue Segment Assimilating Nucleus; TE, Echo time; TR, Repetition time; W TFE, Weighted Turbo Field-Echo W TFE; Confabulation; Amnesia; Medio-dorsal thalamic region
Attentional and executive dysfunction contribute to cognitive impairment in both Lewy body dementia and Alzheimer's disease. Using functional MRI, we examined the neural correlates of three components of attention (alerting, orienting, and executive/conflict function) in 23 patients with Alzheimer's disease, 32 patients with Lewy body dementia (19 with dementia with Lewy bodies and 13 with Parkinson's disease with dementia), and 23 healthy controls using a modified Attention Network Test. Although the functional MRI demonstrated a similar fronto‐parieto‐occipital network activation in all groups, Alzheimer's disease and Lewy body dementia patients had greater activation of this network for incongruent and more difficult trials, which were also accompanied by slower reaction times. There was no recruitment of additional brain regions or, conversely, regional deficits in brain activation. The default mode network, however, displayed diverging activity patterns in the dementia groups. The Alzheimer's disease group had limited task related deactivations of the default mode network, whereas patients with Lewy body dementia showed heightened deactivation to all trials, which might be an attempt to allocate neural resources to impaired attentional networks. We posit that, despite a common endpoint of attention‐executive disturbances in both dementias, the pathophysiological basis of these is very different between these diseases. Hum Brain Mapp 37:1254–1270, 2016. © 2015 The Authors Human Brain Mapping Published by Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Alzheimer's disease; attention; attention network test; executive; functional MRI; Lewy body dementia
Treatment of visual hallucinations in neurodegenerative disorders is not well advanced. The complexity of underlying mechanisms presents a number of potential avenues for developing treatments, but also suggests that any single one may be of limited efficacy. Reducing medication, with the careful introduction of antidementia medication if needed, is the mainstay of current management. Antipsychotic medication leads to excessive morbidity and mortality and should only be used in cases of high distress that do not otherwise respond. Education, reduction of risk factors and psychological treatments have limited evidence of efficacy, but are unlikely to cause harm.
Alzheimer’s disease; amyloidopathy; Lewy body; Parkinson’s disease; synucleinopathy; tauopathy; treatment; visual hallucination
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).
Sleep problems and depression are common symptoms in dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB), where patients typically experience subjectively poor sleep quality, fatigue and excessive daytime sleepiness. However, whilst sleep disturbances have been linked to depression, this relationship has not received much attention in DLB. The present cross‐sectional study addresses this by examining whether depressive symptoms are specifically associated with subjective sleep quality and daytime sleepiness in DLB, and by examining other contributory factors.
DLB patients (n = 32) completed the Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI), Epworth Sleepiness Scale (ESS) and the 15‐item Geriatric Depression Scale (GDS‐15). Motor and cognitive functioning was also assessed. Pearson correlations were used to assess the relationship between GDS‐15, ESS and PSQI scores.
GDS‐15 scores were positively associated with both ESS (r = 0.51, p < 0.01) and PSQI (r = 0.59, p < 0.001) scores.
Subjective poor sleep and daytime sleepiness were associated with depressive symptoms in DLB. Given the cross‐sectional nature of the present study, the directionality of this relationship cannot be determined, although this association did not appear to be mediated by sleep quality or daytime sleepiness. Nevertheless, these findings have clinical relevance; daytime sleepiness or poor sleep quality might indicate depression in DLB, and subsequent work should examine whether the treatment of depression can reduce excessive daytime sleepiness and improve sleep quality in DLB patients. Alternatively, more rigorous screening for sleep problems in DLB might assist the treatment of depression. © 2015 The Authors. International Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry published by John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
dementia with Lewy bodies; sleep quality; daytime sleepiness; depression; depressive symptoms
To investigate muscarinic M1/M4 cholinergic networks in Parkinson disease dementia (PDD) and their association with changes in Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) after 12 weeks of treatment with donepezil.
Forty-nine participants (25 PDD and 24 elderly controls) underwent 123I-QNB and 99mTc-exametazime SPECT scanning. We implemented voxel principal components (PC) analysis, producing a series of PC images of patterns of interrelated voxels across individuals. Linear regression analyses derived specific M1/M4 and perfusion spatial covariance patterns (SCPs).
We found an M1/M4 SCP of relative decreased binding in basal forebrain, temporal, striatum, insula, and anterior cingulate (F1,47 = 31.9, p < 0.001) in cholinesterase inhibitor–naive patients with PDD, implicating limbic-paralimbic and salience cholinergic networks. The corresponding regional cerebral blood flow SCP showed relative decreased uptake in temporoparietal and prefrontal areas (F1,47 = 177.5, p < 0.001) and nodes of the frontoparietal and default mode networks (DMN). The M1/M4 pattern that correlated with an improvement in MMSE (r = 0.58, p = 0.005) revealed relatively preserved/increased pre/medial/orbitofrontal, parietal, and posterior cingulate areas coinciding with the DMN and frontoparietal networks.
Dysfunctional limbic-paralimbic and salience cholinergic networks were associated with PDD. Established cholinergic maintenance of the DMN and frontoparietal networks may be prerequisite for cognitive remediation following cholinergic treatment in this condition.
Dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) patients frequently experience well formed recurrent complex visual hallucinations (RCVH). This is associated with reduced blood flow or hypometabolism on imaging of the primary visual cortex. To understand these associations in DLB we used pathological and biochemical analysis of the primary visual cortex to identify changes that could underpin RCVH. Alpha-synuclein or neurofibrillary tangle pathology in primary visual cortex was essentially absent. Neurone density or volume within the primary visual cortex in DLB was also unchanged using unbiased stereology. Microarray analysis, however, demonstrated changes in neuropeptide gene expression and other markers, indicating altered GABAergic neuronal function. Calcium binding protein and GAD65/67 immunohistochemistry showed preserved interneurone populations indicating possible interneurone dysfunction. This was demonstrated by loss of post synaptic GABA receptor markers including gephyrin, GABARAP, and Kif5A, indicating reduced GABAergic synaptic activity. Glutamatergic neuronal signalling was also altered with vesicular glutamate transporter protein and PSD-95 expression being reduced. Changes to the primary visual cortex in DLB indicate that reduced GABAergic transmission may contribute to RCVH in DLB and treatment using targeted GABAergic modulation or similar approaches using glutamatergic modification may be beneficial.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s40478-016-0334-3) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Dementia with Lewy bodies; α-synuclein; Primary visual cortex; Hallucinations; Alzheimer’s disease
Complex visual hallucinations occur in 70% of dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) cases and significantly affect patient well‐being. Visuo‐cortical and retinal abnormalities have been recorded in DLB and may play a role in visual hallucinations. The present study aimed to investigate the lateral geniculate nucleus (LGN), a visual relay centre between the retina and visual cortex, to see if changes to this structure underlie visual hallucinations in DLB.
Fifty‐one [17 probable DLB, 19 control and 15 probable Alzheimer's disease (AD)] cases were recruited for a functional magnetic resonance imaging study, in which patients' response to a flashing checkerboard stimulus was detected and measured in the LGN, before comparison across experimental groups. Additionally, post mortem
LGN tissue was acquired for a cross‐sectional study using 20 (six DLB, seven control and seven AD) cases and analysed using stereology. α‐Synuclein, phosphorylated tau and amyloid‐β pathology was also assessed in all cases.
DLB cases did not significantly differ from controls on neuroimaging, morphometry or pathology. However, a significant increase in amyloid‐β pathology, a reduction in number of parvocellular neurones and magnocellular gliosis was found in AD cases compared with control and DLB cases.
These findings suggest that the early visual system is relatively spared in DLB, which implies that upstream visual structures may be largely responsible for the generation of hallucinatory percepts. The significance of the degeneration of the LGN in AD cases is uncertain.
dementia with Lewy bodies; fMRI; lateral geniculate nucleus; neuropathology; stereology
123I‐labelled 2β‐carbomethoxy‐3β‐(4‐iodophenyl)‐N‐(3‐fluoropropyl) nortropane (123I‐FP‐CIT) imaging is a diagnostic tool to help differentiate dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) from Alzheimer's disease (AD). However, in animals, cholinesterase inhibitors (ChEi) have been reported to reduce radioligand binding to the striatal dopamine transporter. As ChEi are frequently used in people with dementia, it is important to determine whether their use affects 123I‐FP‐CIT uptake in the striatum.
To clarify whether chronic ChEi therapy modulates striatal dopamine transporter binding measured by 123I‐FP‐CIT in patients with AD, DLB and Parkinson's disease with dementia (PDD).
Cross sectional study in 99 patients with AD (nine on ChEi, 25 not on ChEi), DLB (nine on ChEi, 19 not on ChEi) and PDD (six on ChEi, 31 not on ChEi) comparing 123I‐FP‐CIT striatal binding (caudate, anterior and posterior putamen) in patients receiving compared with those not receiving ChEi, correcting for key clinical variables including diagnosis, age, sex, Mini‐Mental State Examination score, severity of parkinsonism and concurrent antidepressant use.
As previously described, 123I‐FP‐CIT striatal uptake was lower in DLB and PDD subjects compared with those with AD. Median duration of ChEi use was 180 days. 123I‐FP‐CIT uptake was not significantly reduced in subjects receiving ChEi compared those not receiving ChEi (mean percentage reduction: AD 4.3%; DLB 0.7%; PDD 6.1%; p = 0.40). ChEi use did not differentially affect striatal 123FP‐CIT uptake between patient groups (p = 0.83).
Use of ChEi does not significantly influence the ability of 123I‐FP‐CIT imaging to distinguish AD from DLB.
Dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) is a common cause of dementia in the elderly population
after Alzheimer's disease (AD), and at early stages differential diagnosis between DLB
and AD might be difficult due to their symptomatic overlap, e.g. cognitive and memory
impairments. We aimed to investigate functional brain differences between both diseases
in patients recently diagnosed.
We investigated regional functional synchronizations using regional homogeneity (ReHo)
in patients clinically diagnosed with DLB (n = 19) and AD
(n = 18), and for comparisons we also included healthy controls (HC,
n = 16). Patient groups were matched by age, education, and by the
level of cognitive impairment (MMSE p-value = 0.36). Additionally,
correlations between ReHo values and clinical scores were investigated.
The DLB group showed lower ReHo in sensory-motor cortices and higher ReHo in left
middle temporal gyrus when compared with HCs (p-value < 0.001
uncorrected). The AD group demonstrated lower ReHo in the cerebellum and higher ReHo in
the left/right lingual gyri, precuneus cortex, and other occipital and parietal regions
(p-value < 0.001 uncorrected).
Our results agree with previous ReHo investigations in Parkinson's disease (PD),
suggesting that functional alterations in motor-related regions might be a
characteristic of the Lewy body disease spectrum. However, our results in AD contradict
previously reported findings for this disease and ReHo, which we speculate are a
reflection of compensatory brain responses at early disease stages. ReHo differences
between patient groups were at regions related to the default mode and sensory-motor
resting state networks which might reflect the aetiological divergences in the
underlying disease processes between AD and DLB.
Dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB); Alzheimer's disease (AD); magnetic resonance imaging (MRI); hallucinations; neuroimaging
Parkinson's disease dementia (PDD) is associated with poorer quality of life (QoL). Prior to the onset of PDD, many patients experience progressive cognitive impairment. There is a paucity of longitudinal studies investigating the effects of cognitive decline on QoL. This study aimed to determine the longitudinal impact of cognitive change on QoL in an incident PD cohort.
Recently diagnosed patients with PD (n = 212) completed a schedule of neuropsychological assessments and QoL measures; these were repeated after 18 (n = 190) and 36 months (n = 158). Mild cognitive impairment (PD-MCI) was classified with reference to the Movement Disorder Society criteria. Principal component analysis was used to reduce 10 neuropsychological tests to three cognitive factors: attention, memory/executive function, and global cognition.
Baseline PD-MCI was a significant contributor to QoL (β = 0.2, p < 0.01). For those subjects (9%) who developed dementia, cognitive function had a much greater impact on QoL (β = 10.3, p < 0.05). Multivariate modelling showed attentional deficits had the strongest predictive power (β = −2.3, p < 0.01); brief global tests only modestly predicted decline in QoL (β = −0.4, p < 0.01).
PD-MCI was associated with poorer QoL over three years follow up. Cognitive impairment had a greater impact on QoL in individuals who developed dementia over follow-up. Impaired attention was a significant determinant of QoL in PD. Interventions which improve concentration and attention in those with PD could potentially improve QoL.
•Rate of QoL decline was three times faster in PD-MCI subjects compared those with normal cognition.•Cognitive decline predicted worsening of QoL over 36 months.•Decline in attention was the strongest cognitive predictor of declining QoL.
Parkinson's disease; Quality of life; Mild cognitive impairment; Dementia; Attention
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.
attention; Alzheimer’s disease; single photon emission computed tomography; SPECT; imaging
The aetiology of visual hallucinations is poorly understood in dementia with Lewy bodies. Pathological alterations in visual cortical excitability may be one contributory mechanism.
To determine visual cortical excitability in people with dementia with Lewy bodies compared with aged-matched controls and also the relationship between visual cortical excitability and visual hallucinations in dementia with Lewy bodies.
Visual cortical excitability was determined by using transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) applied to the occiput to elicit phosphenes (transient subjective visual responses) in 21 patients with dementia with Lewy bodies and 19 age-matched controls.
Phosphene parameters were similar between both groups. However, in the patients with dementia with Lewy bodies, TMS measures of visual cortical excitability correlated strongly with the severity of visual hallucinations (P = 0.005). Six patients with dementia with Lewy bodies experienced visual hallucination-like phosphenes (for example, seeing people or figures on stimulation) compared with none of the controls (P = 0.02).
Increased visual cortical excitability in dementia with Lewy bodies does not appear to explain visual hallucinations but it may be a marker for their severity.
Two methods of non-invasive brain stimulation, transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) and transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS), have demonstrable positive effects on cognition and can ameliorate neuropsychiatric symptoms such as depression. Less is known about the efficacy of these approaches in common neurodegenerative diseases. In this review, we evaluate the effects of TMS and tDCS upon cognitive and neuropsychiatric symptoms in the major dementias, including Alzheimer’s disease (AD), vascular dementia (VaD), dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB), Parkinson’s disease with dementia (PDD), and frontotemporal dementia (FTD), as well as the potential pre-dementia states of Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) and Parkinson’s disease (PD).
PubMed (until 7 February 2014) and PsycINFO (from 1967 to January Week 3 2014) databases were searched in a semi-systematic manner in order to identify relevant treatment studies. A total of 762 studies were identified and 32 studies (18 in the dementias and 14 in PD populations) were included.
No studies were identified in patients with PDD, FTD or VaD. Of the dementias, 13 studies were conducted in patients with AD, one in DLB, and four in MCI. A total of 16 of the 18 studies showed improvements in at least one cognitive or neuropsychiatric outcome measure. Cognitive or neuropsychiatric improvements were observed in 12 of the 14 studies conducted in patients with PD.
Both TMS and tDCS may have potential as interventions for the treatment of symptoms associated with dementia and PD. These results are promising; however, available data were limited, particularly within VaD, PDD and FTD, and major challenges exist in order to maximise the efficacy and clinical utility of both techniques. In particular, stimulation parameters vary considerably between studies and are likely to subsequently impact upon treatment efficacy.
Individuals with Lewy body dementia (LBD) typically exhibit impairments in attentional and executive function. Current pharmacological treatments have limited efficacy, with associated side effects. Transcranial direct current stimulation (tDCS) may represent an alternative treatment, as cognitive improvements have been demonstrated in healthy individuals. However, no studies to date have assessed the feasibility of tDCS in an LBD population. The aim of this preliminary study, therefore, was to assess the tolerability of tDCS, as well as its effects upon attentional and visuoperceptual performance, in LBD patients.
Thirteen participants completed attentional (simple reaction time, choice reaction time, and digit vigilance) and forced-choice visuoperceptual (angle and motion perception) tasks before and after one 20-min session of active tDCS (0.08 mA/cm2). The anodal electrode was applied to the left dorsolateral prefrontal cortex and the cathodal electrode was applied to the right deltoid. Attentional (task accuracy and reaction time to correct answers) and visuoperceptual (task accuracy and difficulty) outcome measures were compared using paired t-tests.
All participants tolerated stimulation and did not report any side effects during or immediately after stimulation. Post-stimulation improvements were observed in the choice reaction time (increased percentage of correct answers; p = 0.01) and digit vigilance (reduced mean reaction time to correct answers; p = 0.02) attention tasks. Visuoperceptual task performance did not improve (all p-values > 0.05).
Attentional, but not visuoperceptual, improvements were observed following stimulation in LBD patients. Larger-scale, placebo-controlled trials are needed to confirm whether tDCS is a useful treatment option for attentional deficits in LBD.
Lewy body dementia; dementia with Lewy bodies; Parkinson’s disease with dementia; tDCS; transcranial direct current stimulation; attention
•Biomarkers are needed to improve Lewy body dementia (LBD) diagnosis and measure treatment response.•There is substantial heterogeneity in neurophysiology biomarker methodologies limiting comparison.•However, there is tentative evidence to suggest neurophysiological approaches may show promise as potential biomarkers of LBD.
Lewy body dementias (LBD) include both dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) and Parkinson’s disease with dementia (PDD), and the differentiation of LBD from other neurodegenerative dementias can be difficult. Currently, there are few biomarkers which might assist early diagnosis, map onto LBD symptom severity, and provide metrics of treatment response. Traditionally, biomarkers in LBD have focussed on neuroimaging modalities; however, as biomarkers need to be simple, inexpensive and non-invasive, neurophysiological approaches might also be useful as LBD biomarkers.
In this review, we searched PubMED and PsycINFO databases in a semi-systematic manner in order to identify potential neurophysiological biomarkers in the LBDs.
We identified 1491 studies; of these, 37 studies specifically examined neurophysiological biomarkers in LBD patients. We found that there was substantial heterogeneity with respect to methodologies and patient cohorts.
Generally, many of the findings have yet to be replicated, although preliminary findings reinforce the potential utility of approaches such as quantitative electroencephalography and motor cortical stimulation paradigms.
Various neurophysiological techniques have the potential to be useful biomarkers in the LBDs. We recommend that future studies focus on maximising the diagnostic specificity and sensitivity of the most promising neurophysiological biomarkers.
Biomarkers; Dementia with Lewy bodies; Parkinson’s disease with dementia; Cognitive fluctuations; Neurophysiology
Cerebral white matter lesions (WML), visualized as white matter hyperintensities (WMH) on T2-weighted MRI, encompass structural damage and loss of integrity of the cerebral white matter (WM) and are commonly assumed to be associated with small vessel disease (SVD). However, it has been suggested that WM damage may also be the result of degenerative axonal loss that is secondary to cortical Alzheimer’s disease (AD) pathologies i.e., hyperphosphorylated tau (HPτ) and amyloid-beta (Aβ). Here we investigate the influence of HPτ, Aβ and SVD on WMH severity.
36 human post-mortem right fixed cerebral hemispheres (mean age 84.4 ± 7.7 years; male: 16, female: 20) containing varying amounts of AD-pathology (AD: 23, controls: 13) underwent T2- weighted MRI with WMH assessed according to the age related white matter change scale (ARWMC). After dissection, using tissue samples from the frontal, temporal, parietal and occipital regions from the right hemisphere, we quantitatively assessed cortical HPτ and Aβ pathology burden by measuring the percentage area covered by AT8 immunoreactivity (HPτ-IR) and 4G8 immunoreactivity (Aβ-IR), and assessed the severity of WM SVD by calculating the sclerotic index (SI) of WM arteries/arterioles. HPτ-IR, Aβ-IR, and SI were compared with ARWMC scores. HPτ-IR, Aβ-IR and WM ARWMC scores were all significantly higher in AD cases compared to controls, while SI values were similar between groups. ARWMC scores correlated with HPτ-IR, Aβ-IR and SI in various regions, however, linear regression revealed that only HPτ-IR was a significant independent predictor of ARWMC scores.
Here we have shown that increasing cortical HPτ burden independently predicted the severity of WMH indicating its potentially important role in the pathogenesis of WM damage. Moreover, our findings suggest that in AD patients the presence of WMH may indicate cortical AD-associated pathology rather than SVD. Further studies are warranted to elucidate the pathological processes that lead to WM damage and to clarify if WMH may serve as a general biomarker for cortical AD-associated pathology.
Hyperphosphorylated tau; White matter hyperintensities; White matter lesions; Small vessel disease; Alzheimer’s disease; Post-mortem MRI
The clinical phenotype of dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) is different from Alzheimer's disease (AD), suggesting a divergence between these diseases in terms of brain network organization. To fully understand this, we studied functional networks from resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging in cognitively matched DLB and AD patients. The DLB group demonstrated a generalized lower synchronization compared with the AD and healthy controls, and this was more severe for edges connecting distant brain regions. Global network measures were significantly different between DLB and AD. For instance, AD showed lower small-worldness than healthy controls, while DLB showed higher small-worldness (AD < controls < DLB), and this was also the case for global efficiency (DLB > controls > AD) and clustering coefficient (DLB < controls < AD). Differences were also found for nodal measures at brain regions associated with each disease. Finally, we found significant associations between network performance measures and global cognitive impairment and severity of cognitive fluctuations in DLB. These results show network divergences between DLB and AD which appear to reflect their neuropathological differences.
Connectome; Brain networks; Cognitive fluctuations; Attention impairment; Resting-state
To study prevalence, specific patterns and response to treatment of tremor in dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB), in comparison with other tremulous disorders prevalence, qualitative and quantitative features of tremor were studied in an incident cohort of 67 dopaminergic treatment naive DLB, 111 Parkinson’s Disease (PD) and 34 Essential Tremor (ET) patients. Tremulous DLB patients (tDLB) were compared with tremulous PD (tPD) and ET patients and followed for 2 years. Double blind placebo-controlled acute drug challenge with l-Dopa and alcohol was performed in all ET, 24 tDLB and 27 tPD. Effects of dopaminergic chronic treatment in all tDLB and tPD patients and primidone in 8 tDLB were also assessed. Tremor occurred in 44.76 % of DLB patients. The tDLB patients presented a complex pattern of mixed tremors, characterized by rest and postural/action tremor, including walking tremor and standing overflow in 50 % tDLB. Standing tremor with overflow was characteristic of tDLB (p < 0.001). Head tremor was more frequent in tDLB than tPD and ET (p = 0.001). The tDLB tremors were reduced by acute and chronic dopaminergic treatments (p < 0.01) but not by alcohol or primidone. Tremor occurs commonly in DLB patients with a complex mixed tremor pattern which shows a significant response to acute and chronic dopaminergic treatments. Recognizing that there is a clinical category of tremulous DLB may help the differential diagnosis of tremors.
Electronic supplementary material
The online version of this article (doi:10.1007/s00415-013-6853-y) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.
Dementia with Lewy bodies; Parkinson’s disease; Tremor; EMG