James Leverenz, MD: Biomarkers for Dementia With Lewy Bodies


The director of the Cleveland Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health at Cleveland Clinic offered insight into the challenges that have plagued physicians in identifying biomarkers for Lewy body dementia.

“Some of us have started to look at whether or not there are components of the blood that we could measure that are linked to the brain, although this is still at a very early, early stage.”

When it comes to biomarkers of disease, many physicians and researchers look to the blood for signs due to the ease of access and cost-effectiveness of drawing blood from patients compared to other options, such as cerebrospinal fluid. Dementia, and specifically Lewy body dementia, is no different.

However, as James Leverenz, MD, director, Cleveland Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health, Cleveland Clinic, points out, there are challenges to this. The key sign of this condition, alpha-synuclein, the protein to which Lewy bodies are typically linked, is found in platelets and other blood products. This high-concentration contamination makes it difficult for him and his peers to measure it.

In an interview with NeurologyLive, Leverenz discussed this challenge and detailed what other areas are being investigated for markers of disease activity within patients with Lewy body dementia. He shared insight into the early-stage work that is being done, as well as which other options are being hypothesized.

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