Chris Stinton is a Research Associate based in the University of Cambridge’s School of Clinical Medicine and works on the DIAMOND-LEWY project: Improving the diagnosis and management of neurodegenerative dementia of Lewy body type in the NHS. This project is part of our Dementia, frailty and end of life Care theme.

Research team: Chris Stinton, Ian McKeith, John-Paul Taylor, Louise Lafortune, John O’Brien

Many people will be aware of dementia and its main cause Alzheimer’s disease. Perhaps less well known is Lewy body dementia (LBD). LBD is the second most common cause of degenerative dementia in older people, affecting between 160,000 and 200,000 people over the age of 65 in the UK.

People who have LBD are faced with a number of challenges that includes, but is not limited to, difficulties with memory, concentration, movements and sleep, and mental health problems. High levels of stress and feelings of a lack of support are common for people who have LBD and their families. Despite these problems, the best ways of supporting people who have LBD and their families is not yet clear and there is currently no unified, evidence-based care pathway to guide clinicians.

With colleagues here at Cambridge and at the University of Newcastle, I am involved in a project that we hope will improve the diagnosis and management of LBD. One of the things that we are doing is developing an evidence-based toolkit aimed at improving the care of people who have LBD; the purpose of the toolkit will be to offer clear guidance on the areas of need to be managed, the management strategies that are available, and information about how and when these should be delivered.

The first stage of the toolkit development has been to conduct a systematic review of the evidence regarding the management of LBD. One of the most challenging aspects of this is evaluating the methodological rigour of studies. Identifying and taking into account the many factors that can influence the results of a study takes time and patience but when we’re drawing our conclusions it enables us to be much more certain about any benefits and risk associated with management strategies. I’ve recently completed this task and am now in the process of using the evidence from the review to draft the management toolkit. Hopefully, I’ll have more news in the not too distant future.

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