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New international guidelines to identify dementia with Lewy bodies

New guidelines have been published on the clinical and physical indicators to help ensure patients with dementia with Lewy bodies get an accurate diagnosis and the best care possible.

The death of Hollywood actor Robin Williams in 2014 threw the condition into the spotlight as it was identified he struggled with the illness.

Now scientists at Newcastle University have led an international team of experts to produce new recommendations to help diagnose the disease more accurately and improve management of the complex disorder.

According to research published online today and in the July 4, 2017, issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology, the world leaders in their field highlight important clinical and diagnostic biomarkers, but call for more clinical trials into the illness.

Pressing need to understand condition

Ian McKeith, Professor of Old Age Psychiatry at Newcastle University’s Institute for Ageing, led the international dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) consortium, which last reported on diagnosis and management of the illness in December 2005.  

Professor McKeith has been instrumental in leading this research over the past decade, which has been supported by the NIHR Newcastle Biomedical Research Centre, a partnership between Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and Newcastle University.

The new recommendations were established by experts, including patients and care organisations and highlight the importance of detecting the disease early.

Professor McKeith said: “There remains a pressing need to understand DLB, to develop and deliver clinical trials, and to help patients and carers worldwide inform themselves about their disease.

“It is important that people are aware of the condition’s prognosis, best available treatments, ongoing research, and how to get adequate support.

“Our guidelines now distinguish clearly between clinical features and diagnostic biomarkers, and give guidance about the best methods to establish and interpret these.

“Without accurate diagnosis we can’t do the clinical trials that are needed to demonstrate a treatment that works.”

For the full article please visit the Newcastle University webpage.

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