A simple three-minute test can detect Lewy body dementia, the disease that killed actor Robin Williams.

Simple Test Diagnoses Lewy Body Dementia

In All Health Watch, Alzheimer's and Memory, Cognitive Health, Dementia, Featured Article by INH Research5 Comments

Robin Williams never knew what was wrong with him.

Memory loss, hallucinations, and insomnia plagued the actor. After a battery of tests and exams, doctors told him he had Parkinson’s disease. When treatment didn’t work, Williams took his own life.

His widow revealed recently that it was only in the autopsy that Williams’ was finally diagnosed correctly. He had a little-known but common disease called Lewy body dementia (LBD).

About 1.4 million Americans suffer from the condition. That means it affects more people than Parkinson’s. But it’s extremely, extremely difficult to get a correct diagnosis.

In most cases, doctors misdiagnose patients with either Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s. This is because LBD symptoms overlap with those of the better-known brain diseases. As in Williams’ case, this can lead to ineffective treatment…and tragic outcomes.

Now, that may all change.

A brain researcher has a devised a simple test that may have saved the beloved star. In just three minutes, it can detect LBD. 1

“Most patients never receive an evaluation by a neurologist skilled in the diagnosis of Lewy body dementia,” noted James Galvin, M.D. He developed the new test at Florida Atlantic University. “Delays and misdiagnoses occur in most patients with this disease.”

The test is a one-page survey. It asks 10 simple yes-or-no questions about a patient’s symptoms. Healthcare providers use the results to create a “Lewy Body Composite Risk Score.” They then use this number to determine if the patient has LBD.

In a trial, the test was 97% accurate. But because it was only just developed, it is not yet a standard diagnostic tool. Dr. Galvin said he believes it may soon be widely used.

If you or someone you know is struggling with an unclear dementia diagnosis, show this article to the treating physician. He or she may be able to access the test through the scientific journal, Alzheimer’s & Dementia.

In Good Health,

Angela Salerno
Publisher, INH Health Watch

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  1. My aunt was finally diagnosed with LBD while in a nursing facility. Previous to this she was diagnosed with Parkinson’s yet her rapid loss of memory and mobility led the doctor to test her for LBD and it proved to be correct. Unfortunately, she only survived for six months as the LBD destroyed her mentally and physically. If she had been diagnosed correctly in the first place, I’m sure they could have brought more relief and longevity to her. Great article and hope the medical practioners will be aware of these differences between LBD and Parkinsons.

  2. I’m 77, retired for back problems and multiple surgeries 6/2014. I would appreciate the exact journal reference or ideally a copy of the test – met a wonderful lady but part of our pre-nuptial evaluation is Alzheimer’s testing. Both of our Mothers had severe, ultimately fatal Alzheimers.

    Thank you for your assistance.

  3. Where is this 10 question test. Seems crazy to do this article and then not give a link to the test.

  4. This is interesting information, if only medical personnel would use them more to make sure!

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