Monday, March 15, 2010

Lewy what?

I've been mentioning Lewy Body dementia now for a few months, ever since Dad's doctor reassessed his preliminary diagnosis. What is Lewy Body, one asks. Interestingly, before this last summer, I had never heard this word before. Then I fell into conversation with a woman at one of my art shows whose husband had just died, and she said it was from Lewy Body, a Parkinson's-related dementia. As is so often the case, after that, I heard the word everywhere; suddenly, it had become the newest dementia diagnosis. It's a kind of dementia, and for those of you who don't know, dementia is basically a general decline in cognitive abilities due to degeneration of the brain. Its a symptom, not a disease in itself. Alzheimer's is the most common form of dementia, but Lewy Body is now thought to be the second most common. It causes cognitive problems like those in Alzheimer's, and motor problems like those in Parkinson's. It also seems to have its own passel of horrid and challenging symptoms not found in Alzheimer's. It seems to rapidly be becoming the most difficult and feared form of dementia, from all the accounts I've heard. (cont.)

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