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Scientific Review Articles

Despite being the second most common form of dementia, dementia with Lewy Bodies receives little attention compared to Alzheimer’s disease and patients are too often misdiagnosed. This article highlights progress that has been made in the last decade in terms of diagnostic biomarkers, symptomology, underlying causes, pathogenesis and treatment of Lewy Body Dementia as well as issues that need to be addressed to improve understanding, diagnosis and treatment of this disease.

Walker, Z., et al. (2015) Lewy Body Dementias. Lancet (London, England), 386(10004), 1683-1697.

While the prognosis and symptoms of Lewy Body Dementia vary greatly among individuals, there is a high disease burden on both the healthcare system and caregivers. This review article evaluates the available data regarding prognostic markers, hospitalisation of patients, costs as well as quality of life with Lewy Body Dementia and offers recommendations for physicians and carers to improve in each area.

Mueller, C., et al. (2017) The Prognosis of Dementia with Lewy Bodies, Lancet Neurology, 16(5), 390-398

Patients with Lewy Body Dementia present with a range of symptoms that affect things like memory, sleep, movement and autonomic functions. As the symptoms can be so diverse, management of this disease can be difficult as a treatment for one symptom may worsen another. This article analyses the most recent clinical evidence for pharmacological and non-pharmacological therapies for each symptom of Lewy Body Disease and suggest ways of improving treatment strategies in the future.

Taylor, J.P., et al. (2020) New Evidence on the Management of Lewy Body Dementia, The Lancet. Neurology, 19(2), 157-169

The purpose of this review is to highlight the various neuroimaging techniques that can be used to diagnose and monitor the progression of Parkinson’s disease, as well as which biomarkers are most relevant to particular stages of the disease.

Mitchell, T., et al. (2021) Emerging Neuroimaging Biomarkers Across Disease Stage in Parkinson’s Disease: A Review. JAMA Neurology, 78(10), 1262-1272

Parkinson’s Disease is typically characterised by movement related symptoms however, non-motor related symptoms can also occur. These include memory deficits and hallucinations. This review article describes the risk factors and underlying mechanisms of cognitive decline in Parkinson’s disease patients, as well as diagnosis, screening, prevention and management of these symptoms

Aarsland, D., et al. (2021) Parkinson’s Disease Associated Cognitive impairment. Nature Reviews Disease Primers, 7, 47

In Lewy Body Disease, a protein called α-synuclein becomes misfolded and begins to clump together and form Lewy bodies that then cause destruction to local brain cells. This review highlights the underlying biology of α-synuclein and what functions it has under normal physiological circumstances as well as how the dysfunction of this protein can contribute to cell death. Finally, this article reviews the risk factors and reasons why α-synuclein may misfold and outlines the future research that is required to fully understand the role of this protein in Lewy Body Disease and other neurodegenerative disorders.

Wong, Y.C. & Krainc, D. (2017) α-Synuclein Toxicity in Neurodegeneration: Mechanism and Therapeutic Strategies. Nature Medicine, 23(2), 1-13

Lewy bodies primarily consist of a misfolded form of the α-synuclein protein, which can have various structure; monomers, oligomers, protofibrils and fibrils which can aggregate together. This review summarises the role of the α-synuclein in health and the effect of the various structural differences in disease. The authors also present various theories and evidence about how α-synuclein contributes to disease pathology in Lewy Body disease and also discuss how α-synuclein may be targeted therapeutically.

Lashuel, H.A., et al. (2013) The Many Faces of α-Synuclein: From Structure and Toxicity to Therapeutic Target. Nature Reviews. Neuroscience, 14(1), 38-48

Astrocytes are known as support cells in the brain as they play an important role in maintaining the proper functioning of neurons by supporting their metabolism and preventing toxicity, for example. Therefore, astrocyte dysfunction has detrimental effects on neurons and it is suggested that this may be a contributing factor to Parkinson’s disease onset. This review article highlights key pieces of evidence that suggest a crucial role for astrocytes in pathophysiology of Parkinson’s disease and α-synuclein aggregation

Booth, H.D.E., et al. (2017) The Role of Astrocyte Dysfunction in Parkinson’s Disease Pathogenesis. Trends in Neuroscience, 40(6), 358-370

This review article describes many characteristics of the α-synuclein protein in Lewy Body Disease; its abnormal localisation, structure and conformation, ability to aggregate, post-translational modifications, secretions, interactome and so on. In vitro and in vivo tools for studying α-synuclein are also discussed as well as its clinical relevance as a disease biomarker. For each section, the authors clearly present what is currently known about each topic and where the gaps in the knowledge lay, which makes this article a useful resource for Lewy Body researchers

Oliveira, L., et al. (2021) Alpha-Synuclein Research: Defining Strategic Moves in the Battle against Parkinson’s Disease. NPJ Parkinson’s Disease, 7(1), 65