Robin Williams & Lewy Body Dementia

The recent news of Robin William’s autopsy results has shown that he might have had Lewy Body dementia in addition to the diagnosis of Parkison’s disease.  Though not as prevalent as Alzheimer’s, dementia with Lewy Bodies is the third most common form of dementia.   As the news reports have highlighted, confusion and hallucinations are both symptoms of this form of dementia.  Lewy Bodies are a build up of a protien in the brain.  This buildup can lead to Parkison’s dementia or dementia with Lewy Bodies, again, very similar diseases. Parkison’s dementia tends to affect physical motion and movement.

The Alzheimer’s Association defines dementia as: “a general term for loss of memory and other mental abilities severe enough to interfere with daily life. This cause is due to physical changes in the brain.”    Dementia with Lewy Bodies is, on the average, more treatable than Alzheimer’s disease.  There isn’t the memory loss that one associates with Alzheimer’s.  However, like Alzheimer’s, there is no cure for Lewy Bodies and the only way to confirm that a person had the disease is through a post mortum examination or autoposy.  Reports about Wiliams’ behavior coincide with symptoms displayed by an individual with Lewy body dementia.  Hiding watches in a sock and giving it to someone to protect would fit the category of confused, disoriented or hallucinating.

As mentioned earlier, there are several forms of dementia:



Dementia with Lewy Bodies (DLB)

Mixed Dementia

Parkinson’s Disease

Frontotemporal Dementia

Creutzfeldt-Jakob Disease

Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus

Huntington’s Disease

Wernicke-Korsakoff Syndrom

These varying forms of dementia also have various causes and, therefore, treatments.  Alzheimer’s makes up between 60-80% of all dementia cases. It is easily the most recognizable and prominent, but it is important that everyone understand the differences so he or she can better care for loved ones with dementia.

Do you suspect that you or a loved one are experiencing signs of dementia?  See your doctor and express your concerns.  There are also simple screenings that can be done to assist in diagnosing dementia. These can be administered by a dementia care specialist. If you need professional assistance for a relative that has Alzheimer’s disease, schedule a tour of our dementia nursing home in Oakbrook Terrace, Illinois.