Neurologist Dr James E. Galvin discusses Lewy body dementia with SunSentinel readers, including its link to REM sleep behavior disorder.

What are the symptoms?

The core features are a progressive change in a person’s memory and thinking abilities. There are signs of Parkinson’s-like features. People move slowly, become stiffer and have balance problems that lead to falls. They can have visual hallucinations, seeing things that aren’t there, little people and animals. Fluctuating cognition, a spontaneous change in their alertness and attention [such as] staring spells, a blank look on their face or appearing to be sleepy during the day. REM sleep disorder where people act out their dreams. The last symptom is sensitivity to neuroleptics, medicines used to treat psychotic features that can potentially lead to fatal reactions. They become very, very stiff or have kidney failure.