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Non-pharmacological interventions for Lewy body dementia: a systematic review

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Ian McKeith, Dr Louise Allan, Claire BamfordORCiD, Professor Alan ThomasORCiD, Professor John-Paul TaylorORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2017 This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (, which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. Lewy body dementia (consisting of dementia with Lewy bodies and Parkinson's disease dementia) is a common neurodegenerative disease characterised by visual hallucinations, fluctuating attention, motor disturbances, falls, and sensitivity to antipsychotics. This combination of features presents challenges for pharmacological management. Given this, we sought to review evidence for non-pharmacological interventions with patients with Lewy body dementia and their carers. Bibliographic databases were searched using a wide range of search terms and no restrictions were placed on study design, language, or clinical setting. Two reviewers independently assessed papers for inclusion, rated study quality, and extracted data. The search identified 21 studies including two randomised controlled trials with available subgroup data, seven case series, and 12 case studies. Most studies reported beneficial effects of the interventions used, though the only sizeable study was on dysphagia, showing a benefit of honey-thickened liquids. Given the heterogeneity of interventions and poor quality of the studies overall, no quantitative synthesis was possible. Overall, identified studies suggested possible benefits of non-pharmacological interventions in Lewy body dementia, but the small sample sizes and low quality of studies mean no definite recommendations can be offered. Our findings underscore the clear and urgent need for future research on this topic.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Connors MH, Quinto L, McKeith I, Brodaty H, Allan L, Bamford C, Thomas A, Taylor J-P, O'Brien JT

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Psychological Medicine

Year: 2018

Volume: 48

Issue: 11

Pages: 1749-1758

Print publication date: 01/08/2018

Online publication date: 16/11/2017

Acceptance date: 05/10/2017

Date deposited: 14/12/2017

ISSN (print): 0033-2917

ISSN (electronic): 1469-8978

Publisher: Cambridge University Press


DOI: 10.1017/S0033291717003257


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