Robin Williams had Lewy Body Dementia

I saw the SF Chronicle article yesterday about the coroner’s report on Robin Williams, age 63.  This short paragraph caught my eye:

“His wife, Susan Schneider, said Williams was dealing with early-stage Parkinson’s disease, and an examination of his brain tissue by UCSF doctors revealed abnormal protein deposits consistent with a form of dementia, the coroner’s report said.”

I believe that Robin Williams was being seen at UCSF (by Georges Naasan, MD) for treatment of Parkinson’s Disease.  And it seems that UCSF autopsied his brain upon death.  (We don’t know if the brain was donated for research or just autopsied. UCSF is not interested in Parkinson’s Disease brains for its brain bank.)

I wondered if the “form of dementia” was Lewy Body Dementia and — some may think perversely — looked around on the web tonight for answers.  It only took a few minutes.

There was a sad article in the NY Daily News indicating that Robin Williams was experiencing RBD (REM sleep behavior disorder) and paranoid delusions, both of which are LBD symptoms.  The article says:

“(Williams) had been having a difficult time sleeping and would sometimes move around a lot in bed or talk loudly in his sleep, which is why he was sleeping in a separate bedroom,” the report stated.

The night before his death, Williams placed several wrist watches in a sock and drove them over to an unidentified recipient’s location because he was “worried about the watches” and wanted to keep them “safe,” the report said.

Finally, we are told what the neuropathologist’s diagnosis is: diffuse Lewy body dementia.  The is the most severe level of Lewy bodies in the brain so it’s surprising that he wasn’t diagnosed with Lewy body dementia prior to his death.

Here’s a link to the NY Daily News article: