Lewy Body Disorders refers to two related conditions: memory problems associated with Parkinson’s disease and Dementia with Lewy Bodies.

Lewy Body Disorders

Lewy Body Disorders share many symptoms with more widely known conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, which means misdiagnosis is common. However, Lewy Body Disorders are currently under-studied compared with many other forms of dementia and can react negatively to certain medications for Alzheimer’s disease, so better diagnosis and treatments need to be developed.

The Multimodal Imaging in Lewy Body Disorders aims to fill this gap, providing a better understanding of the causes of Lewy Body Disorders.

We caught up with Dr. Li Su, Chief Investigator of the MILOS study.

What are the main aims of the study?

The aim of the study is to understand the causes of Lewy Body Disorders.  We will compare people with Lewy Body Disorders with those without the conditions to see how they differ on the tests and scans.  We are using a new kind of brain scan called Magnetoencephalography (MEG) to measure “brainwaves” from the brain, as well as Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) to measure changes in brain structure and Positron Emission Tomography (PET) to measure damaged proteins in living brains. Later on, we will explore the precise relationship between different scans obtained, to see which is most sensitive.

What does it involve for a participant?

Lewy Body Disorders

Dr. Li Su, Chief Investigator of the MILOS study

All participants will have tests of their mental functioning, including memory, language, vision and attention. This would be repeated every year for the duration of the study (up to 3 years) and can be carried out either at your home or at Cambridge University Hospital. We would also take a blood sample as part of the test.

Participants will undertake an Magnetoencephalography (MEG) scan at the Medical Research Council Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit in Cambridge, to measure the brain waves during rest and when doing simple tasks. With their consent, some participants will also undertake a Positron Emission Tomography (PET) scan in Cambridge University Hospital. For the PET scan participants will have an injection of about a teaspoon of short lasting radioactive liquid. The injected radioactivity fades away naturally over a few hours and participants can leave the scanning centre as soon as the scan is finished.

How long is the study for?

The study takes around 2-3 hours for each visit, and there is generally 2-3 visits to Cambridge at the Cambridge University Hospital and the Medical Research Council Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit.

What do you hope the outcomes of the study will be?

The findings will further our understanding on how Lewy Body Disorders affect the patient’s brain and how to detect this condition and treat it in the future.

Where is the study based?

The study is based at University of Cambridge Department of Psychiatry, and participation takes place at the Cambridge University Hospitals NHS Trust (Addenbrooke’s) and the Medical Research Council’s Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit, both in Cambridge.

Who can take part in this study?

This study is recruiting people with a diagnosis of Lewy Body Disorders and those without the conditions.

You can see if you are eligible for this study or others around the nation by logging into your Join Dementia Research account.

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