Cognitive loss in dementia with Lewy bodies and Alzheimer disease

Arch Neurol. 1998 Dec;55(12):1547-52. doi: 10.1001/archneur.55.12.1547.


Background: Dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) is emerging as a common cause of degenerative dementia. Some preliminary evidence exists that the pattern of cognitive impairment in DLB is different from that in Alzheimer disease (AD).

Objective: To delineate features of cognitive impairment of DLB on standardized neuropsychological tests.

Methods: We performed neuropsychological assessments of 26 patients with probable DLB (based on criteria of the consortium on DLB international workshop) and of 52 patients with probable AD (based on criteria of the National Institute of Neurological and Communicative Disorders and Stroke [now the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke])-Alzheimer's Disease and Related Disorders Association) who were matched to the patients with DLB 2:1 by age, sex, education, and Mini-Mental State Examination score.

Results: Compared with the group with probable AD, the group with probable DLB scored significantly lower on the picture arrangement, block design, object assembly, and digit symbol substitution subtests of the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale-Revised and on the Raven Colored Progressive Matrices test and significantly higher on the Mini-Mental State Examination locational orientation subtest and the Alzheimer's Disease Assessment Scale word recall subtest. A discriminant analysis revealed that the word recall score on the Alzheimer's Disease Assessment Scale and the block design score on the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale-Revised were the best discriminant factors.

Conclusions: The disproportionately severe visuoperceptual, visuoconstructive, and visuospatial dysfunction and the disproportionately mild memory impairment in DLB compared with AD, which likely reflect the distribution of the pathologic changes in DLB, can help to differentiate DLB from AD.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Alzheimer Disease / diagnosis
  • Alzheimer Disease / psychology*
  • Cognition / classification*
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Memory
  • Motor Skills
  • Neuropsychological Tests*
  • Parkinson Disease / diagnosis
  • Parkinson Disease / psychology*
  • Visual Perception