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Robin Williams had hallucination brought on by dementia

Lewy Body Dementia is caused by clumps of a protein substance, or "bodies," that block nerve cells in the brain and disrupt function.

By Aileen Graef
Robin Williams had hallucination brought on by dementia
Robin Williams was found to have Lewy body disease before his suicide. UPI/Pat Benic | License Photo

LOS ANGELES, Nov. 12 (UPI) -- Robin Williams was reportedly having hallucinations brought on by dementia before his suicide, according to his autopsy report.

The dementia, more specifically Lewy Body Dementia, can cause patients to see things that are not there like bugs or other objects. It is caused clumps of a protein substance, or "bodies," that block nerve cells in the brain and disrupt function. In addition to the hallucinations, the disease also interferes with memory and language.

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Williams was originally diagnosed with Parkinson's disease, a similarly degenerative disorder.

The two diseases are so similar it is hard to tell them apart and patients are often misdiagnosed.

"Even experienced neurologists have trouble distinguishing between (the two diseases)," said Dr. Gayatri Devi, an attending neurologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York. "There's not a clear-cut distinction. It's two diseases that have a kind of intersection where it's hard to tease them apart."

Williams' wife said the medications were making things worse. Parkinson's medication can make Lewy hallucinations worse, but have not been reported to lead to suicide.

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