Lewy body dementia (LBD) is one of the most common forms of dementia. The symptoms of LBD can affect a variety of brain functions including; thinking, attention, sleeping and perception. It is often difficult to diagnose and can appear similar to other medical issues such as delirium.

Researchers at the University of Cambridge are looking into the relationship between the overlapping symptoms of LBD and delirium (acute confusion).

They are therefore speaking to those caring for someone with a diagnosis of either Lewy body dementia or Alzheimer’s disease dementia. It does not matter whether the people they are caring for are suffering from delirium or not.

Aim of the study

By speaking to carers from across the UK, researchers will investigate the differences between people with delirium and who go on to later develop LBD and people who do not have episodes of delirium but later develop LBD. The study hopes to identify early signs of delirium and LBD assess the impact of delirium on patients and carers.

What does it involve?

The study involves a telephone interview with a researcher asking the carer some questions about the person they are caring for, their symptoms and when they began. It will touch upon how the symptoms developed, whether they have had admissions to hospital, if they developed delirium, and what was the cause(s) of this were – if known.

This phone call should take less than 30 minutes and can be conducted as two shorter interviews.

The project is being undertaken by Dr James Fitzgerald, an Academic Clinical Fellow in Cambridge, supervised by  Professor John O’Brien, Professor of Old Age Psychiatry at the University of Cambridge, who says:

“The symptoms of Lewy body dementia can often be difficult to identify, especially if a patient has experienced similar symptoms as a result of something else. For example, older patients might experience delirium during or after a spell in hospital.

“With input from those who are closest to the people diagnosed, we aim to establish more clarity on the relationship between the two conditions.

“Ultimately, we hope that the findings from the study will ultimately lead to better detection and treatment of delirium and LBD in the UK.”

This study is open until 1 October 2021.

To find out if you are eligible to join this study, as well as other dementia studies, sign in to your Join Dementia Research account or if you are not already registered, sign up today.