BBC News has posted an article about Lewy body dementia. “Sleep gives brain disease warning” indicates that researchers have now discovered a relationship between certain sleep behaviors and Lewy body dementia.
Lewy body dementia is named after its discoverer scientist Frederich H. Lewy. The disease is a progressive brain disease but the difference between it and other brain disorders is that the cause is from protein deposits that interfere with brain functions. Further they occur all the way through the nerve not only blocking dopamine but interfering with brain signals in general. Lewy body dementia most often occurs with Parkinson’s disease or Alzheimer’s syndrome.
Among other names for Lewy body dementia are Lewy body disease and cortical Lewy body disease.
The newest discovery as reported in BBC News is that physically “acting out” can be a sign of the illness.
When a person is sleeping most of the time their muscles relax during REM or rapid eye movement sleep. However a person who has a predisposition to Lewy body disease will possibly kick and punch during this time.
In a research study that was performed in Canada 93 people were followed over five years who exhibited these symptoms and 26 of the 93 developed some form of dementia or other degenerative brain disease. All people were over age 65.
As a result of the study researchers suggested that as many as 50% of people with these markers will develop Dewy body dementia or a related brain disease.
The value of this study is that it gives doctors a chance to do what they can long before the illness completely manifests itself. If severe results can be held off this gives the victim at least a chance of making it to a cure.
In the same vein, the doctor is able to give a patient an early warning so they can get their “house in order.”
Since I am around 60 it is easy to begin to have these types of concerns. Of course I’ve expressed them to my doctor who is used to my hypochondria. She has told me to exercise and use my brain-something my wife often accuses me of not doing. These are the best things for protection.
I would hasten to add that an amount of forgetfulness at older ages may simply be due to the stress of life.
In addition to exercising and using your brain, getting an annual exam is the best protection you have.