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9 Facts the Media Failed to Report on Ted Turner’s Lewy Body Dementia Diagnosis

Turner Broadcasting founder Ted Turner has been diagnosed with Lewy Body Dementia (LBD). News outlets across the country were quick to share the news this week, but failed to do their due diligence before publishing their articles, thereby spreading misinformation about a condition that affects millions of Americans.

During his interview, Mr. Turner commented about his LBD diagnosis: “It’s a mild case of what people have as Alzheimer’s. It’s similar to that. But not nearly as bad. Alzheimer’s is fatal...Thank goodness I don’t have that...

For those working to educate the public about the various forms of dementia, such as our team here at Pines of Sarasota Education & Training Institute, the media’s subsequent handling of his statement and news release was a glaring mistake and disservice to the public.

We cannot know whether Mr. Turner wasn’t given an honest explanation about Lewy Body by his physicians, or whether he had a different reason to severely diminish the severity of this condition.

Either way, many media outlets simply repeated his words without fact checking or including actual information about this heartbreaking disease. If they would have done that, they would have learned that Lewy Body Dementia is indeed fatal (all forms of dementias are), and that living with the condition often means having to endure terrifying hallucinations.

So we wanted to take this opportunity to help set this right, and give the public some critical information about Lewy Body Dementia that the media failed to add:

  1. At the time of this writing, all dementias are fatal. (And yes, that includes Lewy Body.)
  2. Unlike Alzheimer’s disease, people living with Lewy Body dementia often experience vivid hallucinations. This can be extremely unsettling, for both families and the affected person alike.
  3. Other LBD symptoms include movement difficulties, depression, insomnia, acting out dreams, and memory loss. Symptoms are episodic, for example, a person can be completely fine while at the doctor’s and then act entirely different at home.
  4. LBD is commonly misdiagnosed as Parkinson’s, as both conditions include tremors as a common symptom. The difference is that people living with Parkinson ’s disease experience “Resting Tremors,” meaning a tremor that is constant, even while doing nothing. People living with Lewy Body Dementia on the other hand experience “Intention Tremors,” meaning their tremors appear when they are looking to do something, such as reaching for a glass.
  5. This Parkinson’s/LBD misdiagnosis is dangerous, as 1 out of 4 people with Lewy Body Dementia will die if they’re given Parkinson’s Disease medications by mistake.
  6. Lewy Bodies are abnormal protein deposits that develop in nerve cells and affect parts of the brain that control thinking, memory and motor control (movement).
  7. Attention span and alertness gradually decline.
  8. The only way to definitively diagnose someone with Lewy Body is during an autopsy. This is why it is critical to find and consult with a neurologist if you think a loved one may have Lewy Body.
  9. Men are twice as likely as women to get Lewy Body Dementia.

What Can You Do If You Are Caring for a Person Living with LBD?

There are several things you can do to help someone living with Lewy Body. Stabilizing their blood pressure, making sure they stay hydrated and have an adequate intake of sodium are a good place to start. This will help minimize dizziness spells that almost always lead to falls. Regular exercise along with avoiding prolonged periods of inactivity are key to avoiding body stiffness.

During doctor’s visits, be sure to have them check all five senses – sound, vision, touch, taste and smell – so as to proactively treat any abnormalities. Work as a team with the physician to control symptoms and manage any needed lifestyle changes. (Want to learn more? Scroll to the bottom of this page to listen to our FREE podcast about LBD!)

What Can You Do to Help ALL People Living with Lewy Body Dementia?

  1. Contact CBS and other media outlets that published this story without doing their due diligence, and ask them to publish a researched, accurate piece about Lewy Body dementia.
  2. Share this article with friends and family to raise awareness about the actual facts of this condition

Why Does Your Action Matter?

Because spreading awareness and accurate information about this condition will not only help those currently living with LBD, but all of those that are yet to be diagnosed.

The more people know about LBD, the more likely they are to seek qualified medical care earlier and the less likely physicians are to misdiagnose the condition.

And this in turn not only improves the quality of life of those living with LBD as well as their families, but saves lives by reducing the number of inappropriate medications given to those living with LBD.

Listen to our FREE Podcast (audio only) about Lewy Body Dementia:

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