Neurologic Aspects of Dementia with Lewy Bodies and Parkinsons Disease with Dementia

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Donna Masterman and Margaret Swanberg

The two most common neurodegenerative disorders in the elderly are Alzheimer's disease (AD) and Parkinson's disease (PD). While each has well-defined clinical and pathologic features and specific criteria for clinical and pathological diagnosis, some degree of overlap between these two disorders exists. Some AD patients develop extrapyramidal signs and symptoms characteristic of PD, some patients with typical PD develop a dementia, and both disorders can co-occur in the same individual. This, however, does not explain all or even most of the cases of PD with dementia. Another entity known as dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) has been estimated to account for 15% to 20% of late-onset dementias and has been only more recently recognized as the second most common cause of dementia after AD (McKeith, Perry, & Perry, 1999; McKeith et al., 1996). In this chapter, we focus on the dementias associated with both DLB and PD with dementia.

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