Understanding brain circuits underpinning hallucinations in dementia with Lewy bodies
Dr Angelika Zarkali
University College London
1 November 2022 - 31 October 2025
Full project name:
Interrupting complement interactions to reduce inflammation in neurodegenerative disease
Researchers at the University College London aim to understand the mechanisms underpinning visual hallucinations in both dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) and Parkinson’s disease
Researchers at the University College London aim to understand the mechanisms underpinning visual hallucinations in both DLB and Parkinson’s disease.
DLB is the third most common cause of dementia, affecting over 100,000 people in the UK alone.
In addition to memory problems, people with DLB commonly experience visual hallucinations, sleep disturbances and may also go on to develop the movement problems seen in Parkinson’s disease.
Visual hallucinations can increase stress, both for people with dementia and those who care for them and can increase an affected person’s need for full-time care.
A better understanding of the brain changes underpinning hallucinations will help to improve how this complex symptom is both detected and managed in DLB and Parkinson’s disease.
Dr Angelika Zarkali at the University College London aims to understand the mechanisms underpinning visual hallucinations in both DLB and Parkinson’s disease.
Her work has the potential to identify targets for potential drugs that could treat visual hallucinations in dementia.
What will the researchers do?
Dr Zarkali will work with people who have DLB and Parkinson’s disease to compare brain structures of people who hallucinate with those that do not.
Dr Zarkali will use a combination of high-resolution brain imaging, brain activity studies and data analysis to understand what causes hallucinations in DLB.
A better understanding of the brain changes associated with symptoms in DLB will help in more accurate diagnosis and estimation of disease progression and also help guide the development of preventative and personalised medicine for the disease.
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