Lewy body disease: life expectancy, what is this dementia?

More common from the age of 50, Lewy body dementia is a neuro-progressive disease that affects the cognitive functions of the brain and resembles Alzheimer's. The former weather presenter Catherine Laborde is suffering from it.

[Updated October 7, 2022 at 5:18 p.m.] Lewy body disease represents 20% of neuro-evolutionary diseases in France. Close to 200,000 people would be affected. Much research is being done to improve its diagnosis and management. The former TF1 weather presenter catherine laborde 71 years old has been affected since 2014 . It was in 2017 that she said goodbye to television. On the set of the show ' It starts today 'on October 4, 2022, Son Mari, Thomas Stern explained that she always alternated between moments of lucidity and others of confusion when the disease recovers, typical of Lewy body disease. The hardest being for both of them today 'communicate verbally' . 'We were very connected, we wrote two books together, the fact that language escapes him completely disorients me' he explained. Invited two days later on the set of the program Touche pas à mon Poste, he confided that he was ' went from a couple in love to a couple with a carer and a cared for '. On May 8, Catherine Laborde's birthday, her sister, Françoise Laborde said 'always brave' in a post Instagram . In the show ' seven to eight 'October 4, 2020, Catherine Laborde confided in this disease 'Who's gonna win sometime' . 'It's a shame, I would have liked it to last a long time. But I know there comes a time when it has to stop. It's a extremely painful condition , as if I had a weight to bear, whether I agree or not.'

What is Lewy body dementia?

  Catherine Laborde, suffering from Lewy body dementia, at the 2019 Book Fair.
Catherine Laborde, suffering from Lewy body dementia, at the 2019 Book Fair.

Also called 'diffuse Lewy body disease' or ' dementia Lewy body disease', Lewy body disease is a neurodegenerative disease that can occur in both men and women. from 50 years old. 'Lewy's body is a lesion in the brain found in Lewy body disease, but also in Parkinson's disease . While in the latter, these lesions affect the structures involved in motricity, in Lewy body disease, they are found mainly in the Cerebral cortex and cause cognitive impairment ' , explains Mathieu Ceccaldi, professor in the Department of Neurology and Neuropsychology at the CHU de la Timone in Marseille. This disease causes in particular memory problems , and as such may resemble the disease of Alzheimer . 'This disease would be the second leading cause of dementia after Alzheimer's disease .'

At what age is the disease most common?

Lewy body disease usually begins after the age of 50. It seems to affect men slightly more than women.

What are the symptoms of Lewy body dementia?

Any part of the brain can be affected, often the cortex. The clinical signs depend on the location of the lesions. One of the first symptoms of this disease is ' particularly on the lack of immediate attention ' , says Professor Ceccaldi. Affected individuals may also develop in the early stages of the disease motor disorders . The disease often causes hallucinations visual accompanying the onset of cognitive disorders, sometimes from the start of the disease, whereas in the case of Alzheimer's, they manifest themselves more at a more advanced stage. 'But what particularly characterizes this disease is the symptom fluctuation . Patients alternate between phases where they are fine and phases where they are confused.' And this, in the same day or in just a few hours. This is one of the major differences with the symptoms of alzheimer's disease . Another difference: there is lots of trouble sleeping like the nightmares from the onset of the disease whereas in the case of Alzheimer's it is rather at the end. Changes in behavior and mood may occur suggestive of depression.

What are the differences with Alzheimer's disease?

Early symptoms of dementia with Lewy bodies resemble those of depression, or those of Alzheimer's disease or Parkinson's disease. Confusion with these diseases is common. Like Alzheimer's, Lewy body dementia causes memory problems, for example, but there are some differences. With Lewy's disease:

  • Cognitive disorders can occur from the start, whereas in the case of Alzheimer's it is rather at a more advanced stage.
  • Symptoms can fluctuate from hour to hour, day to day, whereas there are no such fluctuations with Alzheimer's.
  • There are a lot of sleep problems like nightmares from the beginning whereas with Alzheimer's if they occur, it's more at the end. A person with Lewy dementia may also spend a lot of time sleeping.

Are hallucinations common?

About 80% of sick people experience hallucinations visual, sometimes auditory, often in the early stages of the disease, explains the association France Alzheimer in a brochure dedicated to Lewy body disease. They are generally realistic and detailed, sometimes discreet at the beginning of the disease like a passing sensation.

Is it a hereditary disease?

The reasons for the occurrence of this disease are not yet well known. But it is not an inherited disease . 'However, in the same family, people can be affected by Parkinson's disease and others by Lewy body disease. In these cases, which are quite rare, there may be a genetic susceptibility' , continues Professor Ceccaldi.

How to diagnose Lewy body dementia?

The diagnosis is difficult as the symptoms are very varied and fluctuating. It is neurologists who make the diagnosis and then follow patients with this disease. 'The diagnosis is clinical. Neuro-psychological tests can also contribute to making the diagnosis. Then, as for Alzheimer's disease, we will carry out other examinations to rule out other problems, of a vascular nature for example' , says Professor Ceccaldi. In addition to conventional brain imaging, such as l'IRM , we can also, in some cases, have recourse to nuclear medicine examinations.

What are the treatments for dementia with Lewy bodies?

Avoid giving neuroleptics to patients

It is not not possible to cure this disease , nor to slow down its evolution. Only treatments to alleviate symptoms can be prescribed, by a neurologist of course. 'In particular, we can give patients clozapine to reduce, or even stop, their hallucinations visual for example. Taking this molecule, however, requires regular blood tests, as it can have effects on blood cells. It is also possible to prescribe to patients with Lewy body disease acetylcholinesterase inhibitors . 'This symptomatic treatment, usually used in Alzheimer's disease, provided there are no cardiac contraindications, can have a spectacular effect in the case of Lewy body disease.'

Attention : A lot of antipsychotic drugs can cause dangerous side effects and increase the risk of confusion, falling, or even death in people with MCL. They must be avoided.

What is the evolution of Lewy's disease?

The course of the disease is highly variable. It causes increasingly disabling cognitive and motor disorders. If the evolution of this pathology is not necessarily rapid, it can however worsen suddenly. “If the disorders worsen suddenly, it is first necessary to seek a cause external to the disease (modification of the environment, pain, urinary or pulmonary infection for example…)” explains France Alzheimer.

What is the life expectancy with Lewy body dementia?

Life expectancy from diagnosis can vary from 2 to 20 years. To avoid sudden and irreversible aggravations of the disease, it is however necessary avoid giving neuroleptics at all costs to patients. 'Patients with Lewy body disease are more fragile and more sensitive to certain drugs, particularly neuroleptics' , confirms Professor Ceccaldi.

On the health forum: discussions around dementia with Lewy bodies Topic Answers Lewy body disease helps 24 lewy body dementia and lifespan 4 lewy body dementia and pain two Léwy body dementia, how long? 1 To be retained

► Nearly 200,000 people suffer from Lewy body dementia in France.

► Lewy body disease usually begins after the age of 50.

► Any part of the brain can be affected, often the cortex.

► Lewy body disease is not hereditary.

► Life expectancy from diagnosis can vary from 2 to 20 years.

Thanks to Pr Mathieu Ceccaldi, professor in the Department of Neurology and Neuropsychology at the CHU de la Timone in Marseille.

Source : France Alzheimer

Source journaldesfemmes.fr