Podcast Episode 87: What is Lewy Body Dementia and How Does it Relate to Parkinson’s?

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Parkinson’s disease (PD) is a multi-factorial condition, with the potential to affect all aspects of people’s lives. Besides the well-known motor and non-motor symptoms, it also can lead to dementia, characterized by impairment of such mental functions as cognition, memory, and judgment, leading to forgetfulness, limited social skills, and difficulties in daily functioning. The decline in mental abilities can range from mild cognitive impairment that does not affect work or daily functioning to dementia, with much in-between the two. Dementia in PD mainly affects a person’s ability to pay attention or concentrate, to multitask and solve problems (executive function), and their visuospatial skills, meaning their ability to see information in three dimensions. It may have less effect on memory than some other forms of dementia.

Parkinson’s disease dementia (PDD) falls under the umbrella term of Lewy body dementia, along with another condition being dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB). In both diseases, Lewy bodies, clumps of alpha-synuclein and other proteins, accumulate in nerve cells in the brain, causing them to lose function.

Because of their similarities, PDD and DLB are distinguished mainly based on when movement symptoms and dementia arise. People with PD early on experience movement symptoms, and years to decades later may develop PDD. With DLB, movement symptoms and dementia start together or within a year of each other. Dr. Jennifer Goldman is the section chief of Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders at the Shirley Ryan Abilitylab and professor of physical medicine, rehabilitation, and neurology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago, a Parkinson’s Foundation Center of Excellence. In this podcast, she describes the similarities and differences between PDD and DLB, talks about medications and cautions, and offers people with PD important suggestions for coordinating medical care and when accessing care.

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About This Episode

Released: August 11, 2020

JenniferJennifer G. Goldman, MD, MS, FAAN, FANA

Jennifer G. Goldman, MD, MS is the Section Chief for Parkinson’s Disease (PD) and Movement Disorders at the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab (formerly the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago) and Professor of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation and Neurology at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. Dr. Goldman is a Movement Disorders neurologist with board certification in Behavioral Neurology and Neuropsychiatry. She graduated from Princeton University magna cum laude and completed her MD at Northwestern University Medical School, Neurology residency at Washington University in St. Louis, and Movement Disorder fellowship and Master of Science in Clinical Research at Rush University in Chicago.  Dr. Goldman is a clinician-researcher who has been a pioneer in the cognitive and behavioral aspects of PD and movement disorders and a longstanding champion and leader in interdisciplinary care.

As a clinician, she treats patients with PD, atypical parkinsonian disorders, dementia with Lewy bodies, dystonia, Huntington’s disease, and other movement-related conditions. She has implemented novel interdisciplinary, comprehensive care models for PD and movement disorders in both neurology and rehabilitation settings. Her research focuses on advancing our understanding of the non-motor and motor features of PD and movement disorders, using neuroimaging and biomarkers, and on developing pharmacological and non-pharmacological interventions to improve or prevent these symptoms. Dr. Goldman has been funded by NIH, Michael J. Fox Foundation, Parkinson’s Foundation, among others and has published over 85 research articles and book chapters.

As a clinician, Dr. Goldman is passionate about offering a holistic, comprehensive, and interdisciplinary team-based approach for people with PD and movement disorders and their care partners. Dr. Goldman is the fellowship director for the first-ever PD and Movement Disorders Neurorehabilitation fellowship at Shirley Ryan AbilityLab. Dr. Goldman is a core faculty member for the Allied Team Training for PD course offered by the Parkinson’s Foundation and serves on the Parkinson’s Foundation Scientific Advisory and Center of Excellence Boards. She is currently the Chair of American Academy of Neurology (AAN) Movement Disorders Section and the Lewy Body Dementia Association Scientific Advisory Committee, past chair of the international Movement Disorder Society (MDS) Pan-American Section Education Committee (2015-2019), and Secretary-Elect for the MDS Pan-American Section. She also serves on the MDS Study Groups for PD-MCI Validation and Neuroimaging, MDS and MDS-PAS Congress Planning Committees, and Task Forces on Leadership and Interdisciplinary and Integrated care; the AAN Women in Leadership Committee; and Editorial boards of the Movement Disorders journal and Journal of Clinical Movement Disorders and as an Associate Editor for Frontiers in Neuroscience Neurorehabilitation journal.

This episode is supported by a grant from Genentech, a member of the Roche Group.


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