Visual and attention impairments are common in Lewy body dementia. For example, some people may find it difficult to recognise objects, or may find that they are distracted during conversation. These problems with vision and attention can help to reliably distinguish Lewy body dementia from Alzheimer’s disease and similar disorders. Therefore, it is important that we understand what may be happening in the brain to cause these problems.
The research study aims to investigate the nature of these problems and observe what may be happening in the brain by asking participants to complete short psychological and visual tasks and having an MRI scan. By doing this, we can see how the changes in the brain’s chemistry,
connections and structure might cause problems with vision and attention in dementia. This means doctors may be able to accurately diagnose and treat the disorders which cause dementia earlier in the disease.
Whilst there is no immediate benefit to participants taking part in the study, we hope that the findings will help benefit people diagnosed with Lewy body dementia in the future. The results of our study will be used to inform doctors of the psychological tests we can use to provide a quick and accurate diagnosis, and also key brain areas affected in Lewy body dementia. The results will also be communicated to other scientists in this area of study, to help lead future research into dementia.
The study is being held at Cardiff University, and recruits patients who have been recently diagnosed with Lewy body disease, and also neurologically healthy older people over the age of 50. The study is in two parts, involving completing some simple psychological and visual
tasks, and taking part in an MRI scan, all of which will take around 4 or 5 hours in total.
For more information about the study and how you can take part, see register with Join Dementia Research via https://www.joindementiaresearch.nihr.ac.uk/ or email Lauren Revie on RevieL@cardiff.ac.uk.