Robin Williams' autopsy showed that he had Lewy Body Dementia. Lewy Body Dementia is a progressive dementia that involves the death of cells in the brain’s outer layer and part of the mid-brain. The disease is very similar to Frontotemporal Degeneration which involves the degeneration of nerve cells in the frontal or temporal lobes of the brain. Lewy Body Dementia, like Frontotemporal Degeneration is frequently misdiagnosed as Parkinson’s disease.
This frequent misdiagnosis causes a significant burden to patients and caregivers. Families often have to see multiple doctors before a correct diagnosis can be made and lose valuable time needed to plan treatment and care. Additionally, the medications that treat the motor symptoms of Parkinson’s disease can increase risk-taking behaviors and may even increase hallucinations and delusions.
In this video Whoopi Goldberg discusses how to spot early symptoms of LBD.
In cases of LBD and FTD, early and accurate diagnosis is difficult but vital in helping families and patients get the support and care that they need.
Take a look at our FTD fact sheet to learn more about how FTD differs from other forms of dementia.