DIAMOND-Lewy research programme

Improving the diagnosis and management of neurodegenerative dementia of Lewy body type in the NHS

Dementia is a national priority, both in relation to research and clinical service development. Central to improving patient care in those with dementia is the accurate recognition and diagnosis of sub-types of dementia and ensuring appropriate management. This programme focuses on Lewy body dementia (LBD), which includes two related disorders: dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) and Parkinson's disease dementia. The signs and symptoms of LBD are often difficult to detect, and probably only a minority of those with DLB are correctly diagnosed; as a result, many patients with LBD do not receive the best possible management.

This programme will deliver an assessment toolkit suitable for routine NHS use in secondary care, where dementia assessment and assessment of Parkinson's disease occurs, and will produce a clinically relevant, evidence-based management pathway to guide clinicians. We anticipate a doubling of the numbers of those with Lewy body dementia being recognised, and therefore appropriately managed. Since most Lewy body dementias are misdiagnosed for Alzheimer’s disease, improving the accuracy of Lewy body dementia diagnosis will consequently improve the accuracy for other dementia diagnoses, including Alzheimer’s disease.

The programme’s ambition is the wider dissemination of the assessment and management tool throughout the NHS, with subsequent wide impact in terms of improving patient care for those with Lewy body dementia.