Neuropathological and Clinical Correlates of Lewy Body Disease Survival by Race and Ethnicity in the National Alzheimer's Coordinating Center

J Alzheimers Dis. 2022;89(4):1339-1349. doi: 10.3233/JAD-220297.


Background: Survival and associated clinical and pathological characteristics in Lewy body disease (LBD)-related dementias are understudied. Available studies focus primarily on white non-Hispanic samples.

Objective: We investigated demographic, clinical, and pathological correlates of survival by race and ethnicity in an autopsy-confirmed cohort of LBD cases.

Methods: Using National Alzheimer's Coordinating Center data, we selected participants who self-identified as Black, Hispanic, or white who had neuropathological assessments showing transitional or diffuse LBD pathology. We used Kruskal-Wallis and Pearson χ2 analyses to investigate group differences in demographic and presenting clinical and pathological characteristics. We used linear regressions to identify predictors of survival with sex, age at symptom onset, education, ethnoracial status, LBD pathology type, and Braak tangle stage included in the model.

Results: Data from 1,441 white, 60 Black, and 54 Hispanic participants were available for analysis. Hispanics were more likely to have transitional LBD pathology and had a longer survival than white and Black participants. After controlling for demographic and pathological variables, length of survival did not differ between Hispanics and Black or white participants. Additional key findings demonstrated discrepancies between clinical diagnoses received at last visit and pathological findings, particularly among Black participants.

Conclusion: LBD survival differences by race and ethnicity can be accounted for by LBD pathology type and co-occurring Alzheimer's disease pathology. The discrepancies between clinical diagnoses and pathological findings raise the concern that dementia with Lewy bodies is underdiagnosed in NACC, especially for Black older adults.

Keywords: Cognitive dysfunction; Lewy body disease; dementia; ethnicity; neuropathology; racial groups.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Alzheimer Disease* / pathology
  • Ethnicity
  • Humans
  • Lewy Bodies / pathology
  • Lewy Body Disease* / pathology
  • Nervous System Diseases* / pathology
  • Neuropathology

Grant support