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What Are The First Signs of Lewy Body Dementia & Can an MRI Detect Lewy Body Dementia?

Lewy body dementia is an advanced brain disorder. The Lewy bodies build-up in portions of the brain which regulate movement, cognition, and behaviour. This disease affects the body’s autonomic body functions, like temperature regulation, blood pressure control, bowel, and bladder function. Lewy body dementia is considered as the second most prevalent kind of progressive dementia that follows Alzheimer’s disease dementia.

What are the First Signs of Lewy Body Dementia?

What are the First Signs of Lewy Body Dementia?

The first signs and symptoms of lewy body dementia are as follows:

  • Visual Hallucinations: Hallucinations can be considered as one of the preliminary signs of Lewy Body Dementia, and they frequently recur. Hallucinations might include seeing animals, shapes, or people who aren’t present there. Again, sound (auditory), touch (tactile), and smell (olfactory) hallucinations are possible too.
  • Improper Regulation of Body Functions or Autonomic Nervous System: Pulse, blood pressure, digestive process, and sweating get regulated by a portion of the nervous system which is habitually influenced by this disease. Due to this, a person can experience dizziness, and bowel problems and faces issues like constipation.
  • Movement Disorders as a First Sign of Lewy Body Dementia: The symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, like tremor, rigid muscles, slowed movement, or shuffling walk can be witnessed in patients suffering from Lewy body dementia.
  • Difficulty in Sleeping: A person can suffer from REM (rapid eye movement) sleep behaviour disorder. Due to this, he can physically enact his dreams though he is asleep.
  • Cognitive Problems as a Sign of Lewy Body Dementia: If you are suffering from this problem, you might experience difficulties in thinking which is similar to Alzheimer’s disease, like poor attention, memory loss, visual-spatial issues, and confusion.
  • Depression as a Sign of Lewy Body Dementia: You can also experience depression during the process of your illness. The symptoms could be low mood, crying spells, losing interest in activities that gave pleasure earlier, decreased or increased sleep and appetite.
  • Fatigue and Reduced Alertness: Incidence of drowsiness, taking long naps during daytime, disorganized speech, and long periods of staring are also possible in this illness.
  • Apathy as a Sign of Lewy Body Dementia: There is a huge possibility that a person will have a loss of motivation, energy and interest.

Can an MRI Detect Lewy Body Dementia?

Can an MRI Detect Lewy Body Dementia?

Imaging techniques, such as MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) and CT scans are doing the rounds for many years, and they act as vital tools to diagnose many diseases. Though MRI isn’t a diagnostic test of Lewy body dementia, yet it can assist a physician in diagnosing the condition. Moreover, the brain imaging has a significant role in research to have a better understanding of the changes in the brain linked with Lewy body dementia.

Structural Imaging:

MRI is a useful tool for the physicians to study structural brain changes. MRI scan proposes superior quality images in detecting organizational problems in your brain. Some of the reasons of dementia can be well detected through an MRI that includes vascular dementia, brain tumors, or normal pressure hydrocephalus. It becomes quite tough to differentiate between kinds of dementia as many problems can exhibit similar symptoms. As the patterns are identical in Lewy body dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, so MRI fails to distinguish between Lewy body dementia and Alzheimer’s, but it can propose supporting indications that the patient’s signs aren’t due to a different structural lesion. This early detection is highly necessary because they can be reversed if caught as well as treated during the early periods.

Functional Imaging

Structural imaging like MRI can propose information regarding the shape and size of your brain but suggests no other information regarding the working of the brain.

However, another set of imaging modalities can supply detailed information regarding metabolism and brain function, and there are a couple of ways to imaging brain function. Between the two techniques, the first one is the functional MRI. Researchers take advantage of the fMRI to define those areas of your brain which are vigorous at rest or when provided with a job to do. Again, researchers use this to see how a part of your brain is linked to another section. This research is suggesting new alterations in the brain functioning that cause particular symptoms in Lewy Body Dementia, like fluctuations or hallucinations. However, presently, fMRI isn’t sensitive enough to be used clinically.

The second kind of functional scan comprises nuclear medicine utilizing little amounts of radioactive compounds for measuring brain blood flow or metabolism. Some instances of nuclear scans that are presently used for examining Lewy Body Dementia involve dopamine imaging with SPECT scans.


Lewy body dementia influences a person’s motor functions, cognitive ability and ability to finish regular living activities. However, the treatment for this disorder should be monitored by a physician, and it includes diet, sleeping habits, a transformation in the daily routines and behaviour routines, exercises, and other prescriptive therapies.


  1. Mayo Clinic. (2021). Lewy body dementia. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/lewy-body-dementia/symptoms-causes/syc-20352025
  2. Alzheimer’s Association. (2021). Lewy Body Dementia. https://www.alz.org/alzheimers-dementia/what-is-dementia/types-of-dementia/lewy-body-dementia
  3. Cleveland Clinic. (2021). Lewy Body Dementia. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/9191-lewy-body-dementia
  4. Healthline. (2021). Lewy Body Dementia: Symptoms, Stages, and More. https://www.healthline.com/health/dementia/lewy-body-dementia

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Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:September 7, 2023

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