Are there tests to confirm the doctor's diagnosis of dementia with Lewy bodies?

Dementia. Unfortunately, the only definitive test for dementia with lewy bodies (dlb) is to obtain brain tissue. Thus, most confirmations come following autopsy. Imaging studies, such as mri's, fmri's, and pet scans can provide helpful information to support the diagnosis, but at this time dlb remains primarily a diagnosis based upon clinical findings.
Not practical. The diagnosis can only be confirmed by examining a piece of brain tissue. Hence, the diagnosis is only confirmed after death.
PET scan. At this point no affordable test per se. Slowly advancing memory problems, and parkinson symptoms are common. Intermittent psychosis, paranoia and delirium occur as distinguishing symptoms different from what is more typically seen in alzheimer's disease. A vacuous anxiety state has also been described. Pet would show reduced activity in posterior parietal region. Lewy body inclusions on pathology.
NO + Brief Details. No, clinical diagnosis only: physical parkinsonism that is milder than parkinson's disease typically (slow movements, stiff/rigid muscles & posture, possibly resting tremor). But with early dementia, often with associated psychosis (visual hallucinations, delusional thoughts), excessive sleepiness, depression/anxiety/apathy, & rbd. Rbd = rem behavior d/o, causing acting-out of dreams in rem sleep.
Not practical. The only way to confirm that diagnosis is by examining a piece of brain tissue. Hence the diagnosis is confirmed only after death.
BUT, Rx available!!! Dopamine meds for physical parkinsonism: Azilect (mao-b selective inhibitor) & sinemet +/- Comtan (stalevo (carbidopa and levodopa and entacapone) is both together). Tailor rx watching for side effects. Avoid Dopamine agonists (requip xl/mirapex er/neupro)--too side effect prone for lewy body patients. For dementia: namenda, paired with Exelon patch or aricept. For psychosis: seroquel or even clozaril. For excess sleepiness: nuvigil.

Related Questions

My doctor thinks I might have dementia with Lewy bodies. Wants more info to confirm, but I am worried. What exactly is it?

Progressive illness. Lewy body dementia, like alzheimer's disease, is a progressive disorder of the brain. You should consult a neurologist.
Lewy body dementia. Is a type of dementia hallmarked by recurrent visual hallucinations, extrapyramidal symptoms and cognitive fluctuations.
Lewy bodies dementia. The only way to confirm it it is to have a brain biopsy or during the autopsy after dying. Both are unrealistic. The third option is a second opinion with a neurologist experienced in this particular disease, usually someone who has done research about it or who works in an academic or university center teaching others. In practical terms all dementias are treated equally with same medicines.
Need specialist eval. Lewy body dementia (dlb) is a progressive brain disorder that involves cognitive, behavioral, and motor system deterioration similar to that seen in parkinson's disease. It is not the same as alzheimer's, but presentations can overlap. People with dlb are often very sensitive to medications, especially those given for hallucinations. A neuropsychiatrist or neurologist can best help manage this.
Brief Details....... Neurodegenerative d/o featuring milder physical parkinsonism than parkinson's disease typically. (slowed movements, stiff/rigid muscles & posture, possibly resting tremor). But with early dementia, often with associated psychosis (visual hallucinations, delusional thoughts), excessive sleepiness, depression/anxiety/apathy, & rbd. Rbd = rem behavior d/o, causing acting-out of dreams in rem sleep.
BUT, Rx available!!! Dopamine meds for physical parkinsonism: Azilect (mao-b selective inhibitor) & sinemet +/- Comtan (stalevo (carbidopa and levodopa and entacapone) is both together). Tailor rx watching for side effects. Avoid Dopamine agonists (requip xl/mirapex er/neupro)--too side effect prone for lewy body patients. For dementia: namenda, paired with Exelon patch or aricept. For psychosis: seroquel or even clozaril. For excess sleepiness: nuvigil.