What Is Lewy Body?

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By boone
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In 1912, German-American medical doctor and neurologist Fritz Jacob Heinrich Lewy published a paper describing proteins he found in the nuclei of brain cells of Parkinson’s patients. These proteins, later named Lewy bodies in his honor, also play a role in a related type of dementia.

Doctors initially thought Lewy body dementia to be rare, but new immunocytochemical methods used to identify the proteins in the 1980s revealed it to be more common. Based on criteria established in 1996, LBD is currently thought to affect over 1 million Americans.

1. Lewy Bodies

In medical terms, the word body sometimes refers to any kind of substance or form of matter. For example, the phrase foreign body is used to mean any object inside a person that is not supposed to be there. A Lewy body is a piece of alpha-synuclein protein that accumulates inside the brain for no apparent reason.

A healthy brain needs alpha-synuclein proteins in order for its neurons to communicate with each other. However, in patients with LBD, these proteins clump into bodies inside the cells, preventing them from functioning properly. Eventually, the Lewy bodies cause the neurons to die.

Lewy Body

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