Research-the Road Ahead
LBD is of increasing interest to the Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease research communities. It represents an important link between these other brain disorders, and research into one disease often contributes to better understanding of the others. However, there is a great deal to learn about LBD. At a basic level, why does alpha-synuclein accumulate into Lewy bodies, and how do Lewy bodies cause the symptoms of LBD?
Many avenues of research focus on improving our understanding of LBD. Some researchers are working to identify the specific differences in the brain between dementia with Lewy bodies and Parkinson’s disease dementia. Others are looking at the disease’s underlying biology, genetics, and environmental risk factors. Still other scientists are trying to identify biomarkers (biological indicators of disease) and improve screening tests to aid diagnosis.
Scientists hope that new knowledge about LBD will one day lead to more effective treatments and even ways to cure and prevent the disorder. Until then, researchers need volunteers with and without LBD for clinical studies. People with LBD who volunteer for these important studies may receive highly specialized care and access to medications that are not otherwise available. To find out more about clinical trials, talk with a doctor or visit the National Institutes of Health Web site at www.clinicaltrials.gov and www.nih.gov/health/clinicaltrials.