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Characteristics of visual hallucinations in Parkinson disease dementia and dementia with Lewy bodies

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Urs Mosimann, Dr Elise Rowan, Cassie Partington, Daniel Collerton, Elizabeth Littlewood, Professor John O'Brien, Professor David Burn, Professor Ian McKeith


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Parkinson disease dementia (PDD) and dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) have overlapping clinical and pathologic features. Recurrent visual hallucinations (RVH) are common in both disorders. The authors have compared details of hallucination characteristics and associated neuropsychiatric features in DLB and PDD. Methods: This is a descriptive, cross-sectional study using the Institute of Psychiatry Visual Hallucinations Interview (IP-VHI) to explore self-reported frequency, duration, and phenomenology of RVH in PDD and DLB. The caregivers' ratings of hallucinations and other neuropsychiatric features were elicited with the Neuropsychiatric Inventory (NPI). Results: Fifty-six patients (35 PDD; 21 DLB) with RVH were assessed. Hallucination characteristics were similar in both disorders. Simple hallucinations were rare. Most patients experienced complex hallucinations daily, normally lasting minutes. They commonly saw people or animals and the experiences were usually perceived as unpleasant. NPI anxiety scores were higher in PDD. Neuropsychiatric symptoms coexisting with hallucinations were apathy, sleep disturbance, and anxiety. Conclusions: Patients with mild to moderate dementia can provide detailed information about their hallucinations. Characteristics of RVH were similar in PDD and DLB, and phenomenology suggests the involvement of dorsal and ventral visual pathways in their generation. The coexistence of RVH with anxiety, apathy, and sleep disturbance is likely to impair patients' quality of life and may have treatment implications.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Mosimann UP, Rowan EN, Partington CE, Collerton D, Littlewood E, O'Brien JT, Burn DJ, McKeith IG

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry

Year: 2006

Volume: 14

Issue: 2

Pages: 153-160

ISSN (print): 1064-7481

ISSN (electronic): 1545-7214

Publisher: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins


DOI: 10.1097/01.JGP.0000192480.89813.80


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Funder referenceFunder name
G0400074Medical Research Council