Survival and mortality differences between dementia with Lewy bodies vs Alzheimer disease

Monique M. Williams, Chengjie Xiong, John C. Morris, James E. Galvin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

193 Scopus citations


OBJECTIVE: To determine whether dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) progresses more rapidly than Alzheimer disease (AD). METHODS: We compared 315 participants (63 with DLB and 252 with AD) enrolled in a prospective longitudinal study of memory and aging with annual clinical and cognitive assessments and followed until death. The main outcome measure was dementia progression to institutionalization and death. Neuropathologic examinations were performed on all participants in this study. Subject classification (DLB vs AD) was based on neuropathology. RESULTS: Patients with DLB had an increased risk of mortality vs patients with AD (hazard ratio [HR] 1.88, 95% CI: 1.4 to 2.5). The median survival time for DLB was 78.0 years and for AD was 84.6 years (χ = 19.9, p < 0.001) with significant modification effects due to gender (HR 1.51, 95% CI: 1.0 to 2.3) and the presence of at least 1 APOE ε4 allele (HR 1.50, 95% CI: 1.0 to 2.2). Survival after dementia onset was also different between DLB and AD (7.3 vs 8.5 years; χ = 5.4, p < 0.02). DLB cases had similar risks of institutionalization and survival in long-term care facilities to AD cases. Self-reports of depression and the presence of extrapyramidal signs were important covariates. The rate of cognitive decline as measured by psychometric performance and clinical staging methods did not differ between DLB and AD. CONCLUSIONS: Dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) increases the risk of mortality compared with Alzheimer disease (AD), but the two groups did not differ in rate of cognitive decline. The greater risk for noncognitive disease progression for DLB compared with AD suggests clinically meaningful differences for the two disorders.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1935-1941
Number of pages7
Issue number11
StatePublished - Dec 2006


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