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Lewy Body Dementia

Lewy body dementia can occur alone or with other neurodegenerative conditions such as Alzheimer's or Parkinson's disease. It is the second most frequent cause of dementia in elderly adults and is associated with abnormal structures called Lewy-bodies found in certain areas of the brain.

Lewy bodies are abnormal protein deposits — smooth, round lumps in the nerve cells of the brain — that disrupt the brain's normal functioning. They're found throughout the outer layer or cerebral cortex of the brain and deep inside the midbrain and brainstem.

Frederich Lewy, a neurologist and contemporary of Alois Alzheimer, first identified these abnormal protein deposits in 1912.

Researchers don't yet understand if dementia with Lewy bodies is a distinct disease or a variation of Alzheimer's or Parkinson's disease. Symptoms can mimic those of Parkinson's disease or Alzheimer’s disease.

Our Approach to Lewy Body Dementia

As a world leader in the field of dementia disorders, UCSF provides comprehensive assessments and care for people with Lewy body dementia. We work with patients to find the right medications to alleviate symptoms. We may also recommend speech therapy to improve communication and physical therapy to stretch and strengthen stiff muscles.

Awards & recognition

  • usnews-neurology

    Among the top hospitals in the nation

  • usnews-neurology

    Best in California and No. 2 in the nation for neurology & neurosurgery

UCSF Health medical specialists have reviewed this information. It is for educational purposes only and is not intended to replace the advice of your doctor or other health care provider. We encourage you to discuss any questions or concerns you may have with your provider.