Robin Williams suffered from Lewy Body Dementia. My husband and I watched one of Robin Williams’s last films produced about 2 years before he committed suicide. It was determined after death he suffered from Lewy Body Dementia. The movie on Amazon Prime is called The Angriest Man in Brooklyn. It is about a man who thinks he has only 90 minutes to live from an impending brain aneurysm. He plays a man who has become angry and hateful toward everything in his life after the death of his son. He is so full of anger that it is destroying his life and family relationships. His acting was so real. As I watched this movie, his acting was so realistic, I wondered if he knew he had a brain disease then. This morning I researched articles on Robin Williams and the time preceding his suicide.
The articles confirmed what stuck me as I was watching his performance. At the point he made this movie, he knew he could not control his brain and that his memory was going. In real life he was looking for answers from the best doctors but not getting help that would save him. He was actually diagnosed with Parkinson’s in those last months. In that movie, he knew he had something terrible destroying his brain and its function. He knew that it was impacting all his abilities. The anger portrayed in that movie was real. The desperation in the character he played was real. The emotions of a man falling apart and angry in his role were real. He looked like the man he was portraying. In that movie, he was not the same Robin Williams we all loved.
It was only after his death, that Lewy Body Dementia was found. In fact, his brain was so compromised that doctors did not know how he could function at all but he did. In the end, he was going to therapy, taking yoga, and doing all sorts of things that probably helped his health but were not dealing with the real problem of Lewy Body dementia. This man was a multimillionaire, but could not get treatment to save him. Even though there is no treatment or cure, he would have at least known why his mind was out of control. https://news.sky.com/story/robin-williams-and-the-real-story-of-the-undiagnosed-dementia-that-took-his-life-12169663
“Lewy body dementia (LBD) is a disease associated with abnormal deposits of a protein called alpha-synuclein in the brain. These deposits, called Lewy bodies, affect chemicals in the brain whose changes, in turn, can lead to problems with thinking, movement, behavior, and mood. Lewy body dementia is one of the most common causes of dementia.” https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/what-lewy-body-dementia-causes-symptoms-and-treatments
“LBD refers to either of two related diagnoses — dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) and Parkinson’s disease dementia. Both diagnoses have the same underlying changes in the brain and, over time, people with either diagnosis develop similar symptoms. The difference lies largely in the timing of cognitive (thinking) and movement symptoms.” https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/what-lewy-body-dementia-causes-symptoms-and-treatments
Lewy Body Dementia is one of the many forms of dementia but is less well known. Parkinson’s disease dementia is in this same category of dementia as LBD but more well known.
“Lewy bodies are protein clumps that kill neurons. Depending on where they cluster in the brain, they can cause either Parkinson’s disease or Lewy body dementia, although the two conditions tend to overlap as they progress. Lewy body dementia is more difficult to diagnose and treat, in part because the earliest warning signs have remained unknown. Now a new study finds that certain sensory and motor symptoms can help predict who will acquire the disease, paving the way for targeted studies.” http://Motor and Sensory Symptoms Help Predict Who Will Develop Lewy Body Dementia – Scientific American
Most families with loved ones do not understand that the symptoms being displayed are part of a disease process in the brain. Lewy Body Dementia is a neurological disease of the brain.
Its symptoms include behavior changes such as anger, rages, hallucinations, confusion, fatigue, sleep problems, chronic constipation, and problems with understanding, memory and judgement. Depression comes with it along with motor problems.
“LBD affects the part of the nervous system that regulates automatic actions like blood pressure and digestion. One common symptom is orthostatic hypotension, a drop in blood pressure when standing up that can cause dizziness and fainting.”
Possible Early signs of Lewy Body Dementia
“Researchers at the Center for Advanced Research in Sleep Medicine (which is associated with the University of Montreal) and at McGill University followed 89 patients with a history of acting out their dreams—not sleepwalking but moving or vocalizing in bed during rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. The failure to suppress such nighttime activity can be an early sign that something is going wrong in the brain; past studies have shown that up to 80 percent of patients who act out their dreams will eventually develop some form of neurodegeneration.”
“They found a cluster of symptoms—abnormal color vision, loss of smell and motor dysfunction—that doubled the chance that a person with the REM sleep disorder would develop Parkinson’s or Lewy body dementia within three years, according to the study published in February in Neurology.
People with this cluster of symptoms have a three-year risk of 65 percent, which is high enough to justify enrolling them in studies of early warning signs and treatments. ” Article below which all should read.
There is no cure for this disease. They do use drugs for both Parkinson’s and Lewy Body Dementia to control symptoms in different stages of the diseases.
Lyme Disease involved in certain cases of Lewy Body Dementia, Alzheimer’s and MS.
Through autopsies they have found that in certain cases of Alzheimer’s and Lewy Body Dementia, Lyme disease was found in the brain and spinal tissues of those cases. More families should push to get Lyme Disease and its co-infections ruled out when their family members are experiencing brain and memory symptoms. If they only had a short term antibiotic treatment after positive Lyme tests, it is still so important. Antibiotic treatment does not always irradicate the disease. Often it goes underground showing up weeks or months later with neuro symptoms including Lyme brain. Igenex is the most accurate lab for Lyme disease and its go infections even if the disease is long standing.
https://alz-journals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/alz.13076 Table 1 is quite informative.