Robin Williams suffered from ” dementia with Lewy bodies ” : an incurable degenerative disease

More than a year after the death of Robin Williams, his wife spoke in an interview with the magazine “People”. It reveals that the actor was not suffering from Parkinson’s disease, but a neurodegenerative disease: dementia with Lewy bodies. What is this disease? Explanations of Daniel Clement, neurologist.



The wife of Robin Williams has revealed quel’acteur was dementia with Lewy bodies.
This is a form of degenerative dementia, characterized by memory loss, behavior, motor skills, but also by hallucinations. This age-related pathology occurs usually around 70 years.
Similarities to Parkinson and Alzheimer
Shortly after his death, Robin Williams’s wife had however revealed that the actor was suffering from Parkinson’s disease early.
This is not surprising, because there are similarities between these two pathologies: dementia with Lewy bodies is actually associated with Parkinson’s signs, such as movement disorders.
This insane pathology also has similarities with Alzheimer’s disease because it causes problems with memory and behavior.
However, dementia with Lewy bodies is more rare as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease, accounting for approximately 20% of all degenerative dementias.
An impact on the daily
Other symptoms are specific to dementia with Lewy bodies. A person suffering from this disorder has difficulty performing the daily tasks to navigate in time and in space. It may also suffer from impaired judgment and motor skills. Thus, the patient quickly loses autonomy.
Because of this disease, the patient may also have inappropriate behavior or delusional. His mood may vary from day to day, because it is a fluctuating disease. The patient passes easily from joy to sadness or anger.
As in all dementia pathologies, the patient also suffers from depression.
A postmortem diagnosis
The formal diagnosis of this disease can occur only at autopsy. It is only when one analyzes the patient’s brain that special inclusions can be observed in the neurons called Lewy bodies and put a name to the disease.
This is probably why we only just learned that Robin Williams was suffering from this disease.
To detect the disease outside of an autopsy, doctors can only rely on clinical signs. An MRI revealing atrophy in the brain may also allow specialists from the runway of dementia with Lewy bodies.
No cure
This disease has no cure, because there is no suitable cure.
However, it is possible to relieve patients by prescribing a treatment against Parkinson’s disease, certain medications dedicated to Alzheimer patients or psychotropic.
For the patient is taken care of quickly, his relatives should alert as soon as the memory problems begin to affect everyday life of the patient.