Lewy body dementia affected actor Robin Williams, according to latest news surrounding his death. Williams died in August of 2014. This disease affects deposits of protein in the brain causing potential hallucinations. It often affects patients with Parkinson’s disease and it is suggested that the medicines needed for Parkinson’s may negatively affect the Lewy body dementia. Last week an autopsy report confirmed that Williams only had “therapeutic concentrations” of medication in his system. Williams was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in May of 2014 and throughout his illness he struggled with more than 40 symptoms of Lewy body dementia; it was only after his death that his family found out he had the disease. Dementia with Lewy Bodies (DLB) is a progressive degenerative disease or syndrome of the brain that shares symptoms and sometimes overlaps with several diseases, especially Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. The abnormal buildup of proteins into masses known as Lewy bodies characterizes this dementia as well as Parkinson’s disease. People with Lewy bodies in their brains also have the plaques and tangles associated with Alzheimer’s disease. Symptoms of Lewy body dementia include visual hallucinations, movement disorders, poor regulation of body functions and cognitive problems. Additional symptoms are sleep difficulties, fluctuating attention, depression and apathy. Susan Williams, widow of Robin Williams, had spoken with medical professionals who reviewed her husband’s medical records. “Their reactions were all the same, that Robin’s was one of the worst LBD pathologies they had seen and that there was nothing else anyone could have done.” Doctors reportedly agreed that the Lewy body dementia contributed to Williams’ decision to commit suicide.
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