The Rush Approach to Lewy Body Dementia
Patients with Lewy body dementia can go misdiagnosed or undiagnosed for years. That's because the disease can look like either dementia or Parkinson's disease, depending on which symptoms show up first.
Rush neurologists have experience diagnosing and treating Parkinson's disease dementia and dementia with Lewy bodies. Both conditions are types of Lewy body dementia (or, LBD).
Our Lewy body dementia clinic in downtown Chicago is a designated Research Center of Excellence. At this weekly clinic, you can see multiple specialties — including neurology, speech, occupational and physical therapy, and social work — in one place.
From telemedicine visits to our western suburbs locations, our goal is to provide the education, resources and treatment you need for a better quality of life.
Rush Excellence in Lewy Body Dementia Care
- Research Center of Excellence: Rush has the only Research Center of Excellence for Lewy body dementia in Illinois. As part of a national Lewy body dementia consortium, Rush can offer clinical trials and other research opportunities for LBD that are not widely available.
- Rigorous, specialized diagnosis: Diagnosis at our downtown Chicago clinic is based on a videotaped motor assessment (of movements) and neuropsychological assessment. Our neuropsychologists test the different domains of memory and thinking that can be affected by different dementias. Their purpose is to pinpoint where a person is struggling or where they continue to do well. These assessments are then reviewed by our full team of movement disorder specialists so that we reach a consensus on the diagnosis.
- Therapists with Lewy body experience: Rush physical therapists and occupational therapists have expertise working with patients with Lewy body dementia. They understand what goes into walking difficulties in someone with LBD. They know it's not just stride length or arm swing or balance. It's all of those, plus potential changes in visual perception of spatial relationships combined with lightheadedness. They use this knowledge to provide evidence-based exercises to help you walk more safely and comfortably.
- Lewy body dementia progression expertise: Our LBD specialists help caregivers plan for what the future may hold. For example, based on their knowledge of LBD's progression, they encourage conversations about how to handle future issues, such as wandering and confusion, in a way that respects your loved one's wishes and overall lifestyle.
- Medication education: Our specialists educate patients and caregivers about which medications are safe and beneficial to patients with Lewy body dementia and those that can harm them. And, equally important, they teach caregivers about situations when this may be an issue. For example, a trip to an emergency room could cause their loved one to become agitated, which could lead the hospital to recommend common anti-anxiety medications that are harmful to someone with LBD.
- Caregiver and patient support: Rush offers a movement disorders support group in Aurora and a Lewy body dementia support group in Chicago. These support groups, along with patient symposiums and patient education resources, help patients and caregivers become more knowledgeable about LBD. They also give you the tools you and your caregiver need to manage how the disease affects your lives overall. For instance, we educate caregivers that apathy and other mental health issues are part of the disease, not a reaction to anything the caregiver is doing.