Dementia in Parkinson disease

Historical note and nomenclature
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By Peter Hedera MD

James Parkinson first described the shaking palsy, emphasizing the classic motor symptoms of Parkinson disease. Friedreich Lewy has commented on the mental impairment in many patients with Parkinsonism, but cognitive performance and dementia in Parkinson disease have only received systematic study since the 1970s. In the late 1980s, clinico-pathological studies identified a dementia syndrome with a substrate comprising widely distributed cortical and subcortical Lewy bodies, now referred to as dementia with Lewy bodies (McKeith et al 1996). Dementia in association with Parkinson disease or Lewy bodies has emerged as a relatively common and important clinical problem.