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Quick Test Detects Lesser-Known Form of Dementia

Quick Test Detects Lesser-Known Form of Dementia

A leading neuroscientist has developed a three-minute survey that is able to detect Lewy Body disease (LBD), a lesser-known type of dementia that is typically more difficult to diagnose than Alzheimer’s disease. The survey, known as “Lewy Body Composite Risk Score” (LBCRS), is able to discriminate between Alzheimer’s disease and LBD with 96.8 percent accuracy.

Patients with LBD simultaneously experience losses in cognitive function, mobility, and behavior. The disease can cause visual hallucinations and make depression feel much worse.

The survey features structured yes/no questions for specific symptoms found in patients with LBD, but are much less commonly found in other forms of dementia. The LBCRS rates whether the patient has bradykinesia, rigidity, postural instability, or rest tremor without having to grade each extremity.

The study involved 256 patients who were referred from the community rather than being part of a research sample. The sample had a mixture of gender, education, comorbidities, behavioral, affective, motor symptoms, and diagnoses.

For the study, caregivers completed evaluations to determine the presence and severity of non-cognitive symptoms observed in the patient and their impact on the caregiver. Each patient was administered a 30-minute test battery at the time of the office visit to assess their cognitive status. The LBCRS was completed after all other rating scales were scored and the diagnosis was presented to the patient and family.

“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 LBCRS developer and neuroscientist James E. Galvin, M.D., M.P.H., professor of clinical biomedical science at Florida Atlantic University’s Charles E. Schmidt College of Medicine and Christine E. Lynn College of Nursing.

“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.”

“Early detection of Lewy body dementias will be important to enable future interventions at the earliest stages when they are likely to be most effective,” said Galvin. “Our study provides evidence-based methodology that will have applications in clinical practice, participation in clinical trials, prevention studies, community surveys, and biomarkers research.”

The study, titled “Improving the Clinical Detection of Lewy Body Dementia with the Lewy Body Composite Risk Score,” is published in Alzheimer’s & Dementia, the journal of the Alzheimer’s Association.

Source: Florida Atlantic University

Doctor talking with an elderly patient photo by shutterstock.

Quick Test Detects Lesser-Known Form of Dementia

Traci Pedersen

Traci Pedersen is a professional writer with over a decade of experience. Her work consists of writing for both print and online publishers in a variety of genres including science chapter books, college and career articles, and elementary school curriculum.

APA Reference
Pedersen, T. (2018). Quick Test Detects Lesser-Known Form of Dementia. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 26, 2020, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Aug 2018 (Originally: 27 Oct 2015)
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Aug 2018
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