This disease is the most common type of progressive dementia.
The central feature of this disease is progressive cognitive decline, combined with three additional defining features: (1) pronounced “fluctuations” in alertness the and attention, such as frequent drowsiness, lethargy, lengthy periods of time spent staring into space, or disorganized speech; (2) recurrent visual hallucinations; and (3) parkinsonian motor symptoms, such as rigidity and the loss of spontaneous movement. People may also suffer from depression.
The symptoms of of this disease are caused by the build-up of accumulated bits of alpha-synuclein protein — inside the nuclei of neurons in areas of the brain that control particular aspects of memory and motor control.
The similarity of symptoms between this disease, Parkinson’s disease, and Alzheimer’s disease can often make it difficult for a doctor to make a definitive diagnosis.
In addition, alpha-synuclein protein is often also found in the brains of people with Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases.
These findings suggest that either his disease is related to these other causes of dementia, or that an individual can have both diseases at the same time.
This disease usually occurs sporadically, in people with no known family history of the disease. However, rare familial cases have occasionally been reported.