The Whitworths of Arizona, bringing science to you in everyday language.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Adding up the Statistics: 60% of All Dementia Patients Have Lewy Body Dementia!

We still hear Lewy body dementia refered to as a "rare dementia."  However, in his recent article, Confronting 100 Years of Confusion about Lewy Body Dementia, Dr. James Leverenz, University of Washington, Seattle, states, “… up to half of Alzheimer’s disease patients have the “Lewy body variant” [Lewy bodies in the brain upon autopsy] … and most Parkinson’s disease patients develop dementia….” Here are some statistics:

  • 60-80% (let’s say 70%) of all dementia patients have Alzheimer’s. (Alz. Assn.)
  • 20% of all dementia patients are diagnosed with a Lewy Body Dementia. (
  • Many  Parkinson’s patients develop dementia but never see a dementia specialist and are not included in the LBD statistics.

For the percentage of all dementia patients with LBD, we can add: 
  • the approximately 35% of dementia patients with both AD and LBD, per Dr. Leverenz,
  • the 20% of those diagnosed with LBD,
  • and a very conservative 5% for the unidentified number of Parkinson’s patients with undiagnosed LBD.
That's a conservative 60%. We can safely say that LBD is no longer rare.