Therapeutic Focus

Dementia is not a specific disease but a general term that describes a wide range of symptoms associated with a decline in memory or other thinking skills severe enough to reduce a person’s ability to perform everyday activities.

Alzheimer's disease is the most common form of dementia, accounting for 60%-80% of cases.i

People with dementia have significantly impaired cognitive functioning, which can interfere with everyday activities such as getting dressed or eating. They may also have behavioral problems, such as apathy, psychosis and depression.

Physicians diagnose dementia if two or more of the following brain functions are significantly impairedi:

  • Memory
  • Communication and language
  • Ability to focus and pay attention
  • Reasoning and judgment
  • Visual perception

Alzheimer's disease, the most common form of dementia, is a chronic, progressive neurodegenerative disorder.iii It is the fifth leading cause of death among people aged 65 years and older in the United States.iii

Currently, about 5.5 million people in the United States are affected by Alzheimer's disease, and that number could triple in upcoming decades, rising to 16 million by 2050.iii

In addition to the impact on quality of life for both patients and caregivers, Alzheimer's disease costs the United States $259 billion annually—nearly twice as much as cancer ($125 billion),iii,iv and costs are expected to rise to an estimated $1.1 trillion by 2050.iii

The main obstacle to progress in the fight against Alzheimer's disease has been the absence of drugs that are capable of slowing disease progression.v No new chemical entities have been approved for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease since

Lewy body dementia (LBD) is a progressive brain disorder in which Lewy bodies, abnormal deposits of a protein called alpha-synuclein, build up in areas of the brain that regulate behavior, cognition, and movement.

This complex disease can present with a range of symptoms including tremors, stiffness, hallucinations, and alterations in sleep and behavior.vii

Lewy body dementia is an umbrella term that includes two similar conditions: dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) and Parkinson’s disease dementia (PDD).vii

DLB is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder characterized by the aggregation of Lewy bodies, which causes disruption in cognition, function and behavior. It is the second most prevalent cause of neurodegenerative dementia in elderly patients. There are no approved therapies for the treatment of DLB in the United States or Europe.viii

PDD is caused by changes in the brain that are linked to Parkinson’s disease in a region that plays a key role in movement. As Parkinson’s gradually spreads, it often begins to affect mental functions including memory and the ability to pay attention.ix

Patients with LBD often experience.viii

  • Visual hallucinations
  • Fluctuations in cognition, attention, and alertness
  • Sensitivity to neuroleptic (antipsychotic) medications
  • REM behavior disorder (RBD), in which people physically act out their dreams, impacting their quality of life and endangering their bed partners
  • Parkinsonism (movement disorder symptoms such as muscle rigidity and tremors)


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i. Alzheimer's Association. 2017 Alzheimer’s disease facts and figures. Accessed August 15, 2017.
ii. Lewy Body Dementia Association (2013) What is Lewy body dementia? Accessed August 15, 2017.
iii. Alzheimer's Association. 2017 Alzheimer’s disease facts and figures. Accessed August 15 2017.
iv. Farina KL. The economics of cancer care in the United States. American Journal of Managed Care. Published March 16, 2012. Accessed August 15, 2017.
v. Folch J, Petrov D, Ettcheto M, et al. Current research therapeutic strategies for Alzheimer's disease treatment. Neural Plast. 2016;2016:8501693. Published January 3, 2016. Accessed August 15, 2017.
vi. Cummings JL, Morstorf T, Zhong K. Alzheimer's disease drug-development pipeline: few candidates, frequent failures. Alzheimer Res Ther. 2014;6(4):37. Published July 3, 2014. Accessed August 15, 2017.
vii. Lewy Body Dementia Association. What is LBD? Accessed August 16, 2017.
viii. Alzheimer's Association. Dementia with Lewy bodies. Accessed August 16, 2017.
ix. Alzheimer's Association. Parkinson’s disease dementia. Accessed August 16, 2017.