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Lewy Body Dementia, A 3-Minute Test Diagnoses The Rare Disease

Update Date: Nov 09, 2015 10:22 AM EST

After Alzheimer's, it's the turn of Lewy Body dementia (LBD), the second-most-common degenerative disease that hits more than 1.3 million Americans.

Patients suffering from the health issue typically show loss of mobility, cognitive function and other issues. The late Robin Williams too was afflicted with this, before he committed suicide.

At Florida Atlantic University, researchers have developed a new test that diagnoses LBD as well as Parkinson's disease dementia (PDD) in just three minutes. Researchers say that this "Lewy Body Composite Risk Score" (LBCRS) uses a brief rating scale that is completed by a clinician, which will examine the warning symptoms that have been related to the illness, from "postural instability to bradykinesia", and other "resting tremors".

The study, "Improving the Clinical Detection of Lewy Body Dementia with the Lewy Body Composite Risk Score," involved 256 patients judged against the clinical dementia rating and gold standard measures of cognition, motor symptoms, function and behavior, according to a news release.

A test was conducted in a "real-world" clinic setting with a sample of diverse "genders, educational backgrounds and cognition, motor symptoms, function and behaviour".

Other caregivers too were given tests in order to locate the cognitive symptoms in patients and how this influenced the caregiver. Patients were given a 30-minute test battery in office to judge their cognitive status.

After other rating scales were scored, the diagnosis was presented to the patient and family, according to the authors.

The LBCRS showed the differences between Alzheimer's and LBD with a 96.8 percent accuracy, a 90 percent sensitivity and an 87 percent specificity, researchers say.

The study is published in Alzheimer's & Dementia, a journal of the Alzheimer's Association.

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