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Robin Williams' suicide was triggered by a horrible disease called Lewy Body Dementia ... sources connected with his family tell TMZ.
TMZ has obtained documents showing Williams was struggling with the disease, which is marked by abnormal protein deposits in the brain that disrupt normal function.
Lewy Body Dementia is a common condition associated with Parkinson's ... and people afflicted by both often get severe side effects from Parkinson's meds. Hallucinations are common, where patients see phantom objects, people or animals. The patients often try to converse with the illusions.
While the specific symptoms in a person with DLB will vary, core features of DLB are: fluctuating cognition with great variations in attention and alertness from day to day and hour to hour, recurrent visual hallucinations (observed in 75% of people with DLB), and motor features of Parkinson's. Suggestive symptoms are rapid eye movement (REM)-sleep behavior disorder and abnormalities detected in PET or SPECT scans.
Parkinson's features could include shuffling gait, reduced arm-swing during walking, blank expression (reduced range of facial expression), stiffness of movements, ratchet-like cogwheeling movements; low speech volume, sialorrhea and difficulty swallowing. Tremors are less common in DLB than in Parkinson's disease. DLB patients also often experience problems with orthostatic hypotension, including repeated falls, syncope (fainting), and transient loss of consciousness.
One of the most critical and distinctive clinical features is hypersensitivity to neuroleptic and antiemetic medications that affect dopaminergic and cholinergic systems. In the worst cases, a patient treated with these drugs could become catatonic, lose cognitive function and/or develop life-threatening muscle rigidity.
originally posted by: rukia
I have read Hallucinations by Dr. Oliver Sachs--a book that explores things that cause hallucinations, from drugs to LBD--and I must say that I still don't condone Williams' suicide. It sends a message that it is better to give up versus suffering. One dies when one's purpose has been fulfilled. Who are we to decide when someone's purpose wears out? Maybe he should have been brave. Don't get me wrong, I understand why he did it and I'm not saying that I wouldn't have done the same. But something about killing yourself rubs me the wrong way.