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Imaging of a living brain can help clearly differentiate between two types of dementia

American actor Robin Williams had a neurodegenerative brain disease called dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB)—a distressing disease with symptoms in common with Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and Parkinson’s disease (PD). But unlike these two conditions, DLB also entails prominent mood and cognitive swings, sleep disorders, and vivid, sometimes terrifying, visual hallucinations. It is now thought that Robin Williams, whose diagnosis was only ascertained post-mortem, was likely driven to suicide, in 2014 by the terrifying hallucinatory experiences he suffered for years—and about which he never told anyone, including his wife. Susan Schneider Williams recounted the tragic story in an editorial published in the journal Neurology in 2016, titled “The terrorist inside my husband’s brain.”

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