Actor Robin Williams’ widow spoke up, a year after his death by suicide, telling the world that she didn’t blame him one bit for his decision. Why? Because Williams, an unlikely yet beloved hero from his Mork and Mindy days to his last TV series The Crazy Ones, had an illness that scares the heck out of me: Lewy Bodies Dementia.
There IS a link between Lewy Bodies Dementia and ADHD, according to a 2011 retrospective research study. Researchers in Argentina chose 109 adults diagnosed with LBD and 251 adults diagnosed with Alzheimers Disease Dementia, matching them against a control group. The results were astonishing: only about 15% of the control group and the Alzheimer’s group showed correlation with ADHD but a whopping 47% of the Lewy Bodies Dementia group revealed previous ADHD symptoms.
Lewy Bodies Dementia, like Parkinson’s Disease is characterized by low dopamine transporter uptake in the brain, which eventually affects memory and can impact gait. LBD usually shows up in adults from age 50 to 85 but earlier symptoms can be missed because they look a lot like ADHD: executive function and attention deficits.
So does having an ADHD brain mean there is a greater risk of developing Lewy Bodies Dementia? Maybe. Or do symptoms of Lewy Bodies Dementia mimic ADHD so well that they are indistinguishable until LBD gets worse? Very confusing. And no solutions offered to slow down or ward off this terrible form of dementia.
Did Robin Williams have ADHD? I don’t doubt it for a minute. His brilliant brain raced here and there in full view so we could enjoy, laugh and applaud it. Did his ADHD lead to his LBD? Sounds right to me. And that scares the heck out of me.