Florida Atlantic University scientists have developed a three-minute test that detects a form of dementia known as Lewy Body disease – the second most common cause after Alzheimer's disease and the type suffered by Robin Williams.
The condition affects more than 1.3 million Americans and is easily missed by doctors, which often delays diagnosis and treatment, experts say. The condition can cause visual hallucinations and make depression worse.
James E. Galvin, M.D., a leading neuroscientist at FAU, has developed the "Lewy Body Composite Risk Score" (LBCRS) to quickly and effectively diagnose LBD and Parkinson's disease dementia in about three minutes. The simple, one-page survey assesses six non-motor features that are present in patients with LBD, but are much less commonly found in other forms of dementia.
Dr. Galvin’s research on the test, published in Alzheimer's & Dementia, the journal of the Alzheimer's Association, found it was able to discriminate between Alzheimer’s disease and LBD with 97 percent accuracy in 256 patients.
"Most patients never receive an evaluation by a neurologist skilled in the diagnosis of Lewy body dementia, and significant delays and misdiagnoses occur in most patients with this disease," said Dr. Galvin.
"This new tool has the potential to provide a clearer, more accurate picture for those patients who are unable to be seen by specialists, hastening the correct diagnosis and reducing the strain and burden placed on patients and caregivers."
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