February 2018 Lewy-body Dementia Research Updates

Summarized from the Lewy-body Disease Association Website

www.lbda.org

Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma Co. Ltd.

In 2014 it was discovered that motor symptoms of LBD improved with levodopa (a Parkinson’s Disease treatment) plus zonisamide, an epilepsy drug. This was confirmed at the 50mg dose in Neurology January 2018 funded by Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma Co. Ltd. There has never been a recommended drug for supportive treatment of LBD on the books. After more testing, perhaps the epilepsy drug will be added.


December 2017 Lancet, UK Dementia Research at UCL,
Dr. Rita Guerreiro & Jose Bras, Funding by The Alzheimer’s Society & Lewy-body Soc. UK

Research advances have been made in the genetics of LBD which are uniquely different from Parkinson’s”. A variation in three genes were involved: APOE (seen in AD), SNCA(assoc. with PD) but a different part of that gene, and GBA. 76% of participants involved had verification at autopsy of their diagnosis. That makes this study findings so valuable. [A new gene CNTN1 also may increase the risk of LBD, but needs to be studied further. TREM2 associated with AD, and MAPT associated with PD will also be studied further to see if they are tentative predictors of LBD.] The study finds that these genes only predict heritability of 36%, with the remaining 64% not identified. It may be due to other presently unidentified genes or environmental pressures.


Four Grants by NIH

Four grants in the USA have been given by NIH for the discovery of biomarkers in LBD: a. Columbia   -  how the presence of AD affects the course of LDB in patients diagnosed with both disease, b. Harvard Univ. - development of a test to detect a gene responsible for the poor regulation of sphingolipids, present in some patients with LBD, and c. Mayo Clinic – study using several  types of brain imaging as a way to detect the increase of Lewy-bodies as they progress in the disease, and for the progression of those with AD as well.

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