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1 gen 2021 · Cronaca Nera Com’è morto Robin Williams/ Suicidio e demenza corpi di Lewy, l’ipotesi della moglie Pubblicazione: 01.01.2021 Ultimo aggiornamento: 21:44 - Elisa Porcelluzzi Com'è morto Robin...
8 nov 2014 · San Francisco (California) Robin Williams si è suicidato. Le autorità che indagavano sulla morte dell’attore, avvenuta l’11 agosto scorso, hanno diffuso i risultati degli esami sul cadavere...
12 ago 2014 · Robin Williams committed suicide by hanging himself with a belt Monday at his Tiburon, California home, Lt. Keith Boyd of the Marin County Sheriff's Office said Tuesday during a press...
- ‘Chemical warfare in his brain’
- ‘Every yard gained matters’
After Robin Williams died by suicide in August 2014, his widow, Susan Schneider Williams, would soon learn about a disease she had never heard of, but one that had haunted both of their lives.
That disease is Lewy body dementia, with which the actor was diagnosed in October 2014 following an autopsy on his brain. “A few months before he passed, he was given a Parkinson’s (disease) diagnosis,” said Schneider Williams, an artist and advocate for LBD awareness and research, at the Life Itself conference, a health and wellness event presented in partnership with CNN. “But that was just the tip of the iceberg.”
The misdiagnosis occurred in May 2014 after Robin had been experiencing severe memory, movement, personality, reasoning, sleep and mood changes.
The comedian had undergone multiple tests to identify his problem, most of which were negative. “None of the doctors knew that there was this ghost disease underlying all of this,” Schneider Williams told CNN in an interview. “When that was revealed, that was like essentially finding out the name of my husband’s killer.”
Dementia is a disorder of mental processes marked by memory dysfunction, personality changes and impaired reasoning due to brain disease or injury. The exact cause of LBD, which affects about 1.4 million Americans, is unknown. But the disease is associated with the accumulation of the protein alpha-synuclein, which is typically present in the brain and in small amounts in the heart, muscle and other tissues. Alpha-synuclein might help regulate neurotransmitters. But when this protein accumulates and forms masses (called Lewy bodies) within the brain, the effects are devastating.
Lewy body dementia and Parkinson’s disease dementia are the two types of Lewy body dementias, which are the second most common form of dementia after Alzheimer’s disease, according to the Lewy Body Dementia Association.
Lewy body dementia has more than 40 symptoms that can randomly appear and disappear, Schneider Williams said. Categorically, the signs include impaired thinking, fluctuations in attention, problems with movement, visual hallucinations, sleep disorders, behavioral and mood issues, and changes in bodily functions such as the ability to control urinating.
What “marked the beginning of a cascade of symptoms” was when her husband started experiencing never-ending fear and anxiety, Schneider Williams said. It began to happen in 2012 when Williams started to pull back from engaging with people at the Throckmorton Theatre in California, where he would try new material out and riff with other comedians just for fun, she added.
The anxieties persisted beyond what Williams had experienced in the past and what is normal for a beloved actor living with the pressures of being on a world stage.
Eventually, paranoia was another significant symptom, Schneider Williams said. “It was the amygdala region of his brain that had a ginormous amount of the Lewy bodies. So that area of the brain is really our ability to regulate our emotions, particularly fear and anxiety. And Robin’s was basically broken.”
Toward the end, Williams also experienced delusional looping. “Your brain is concocting a story of what you think reality is,” Schneider Williams said. “And the people around you are unable to rationalize with you and bring you back into what is actually real. So it’s incredibly scary for everyone around someone who’s deluded as well as the deluded person.
“As a caregiver, you feel incredibly powerless when you realize, ‘Oh my gosh, nothing I say or do anymore can bring him back to what’s real.’ And that’s a very scary place,” she said. “Lewy body – it really takes over.”
Nearly eight years after the diagnosis that catalyzed Schneider Williams’ research journey, she is “just now starting to really pick up the pieces of my own life,” she said.
“I kind of need to go underground for a while and relocate my inspiration and my true passion, which is art and painting,” Schneider Williams said. She plans for a portion of all her future print sales to go to LBD research, and she will stay in touch with efforts related to the documentaries and the Lewy Body Dementia Fund, where she remains lead chair.
As Schneider Williams widens her focus while leaving her door open for LBD advocacy, experts continue their research efforts.
“We’re always learning more and more about the disease, from the basic science studies looking at cells and test tubes, to animal models, to human observational studies,” said Dr. James Galvin, a professor of neurology and director of the Comprehensive Center for Brain Health at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.
Recent highlights include the introduction of at least two new diagnostics, Galvin said: a spinal fluid test from the company Amprion and a skin biopsy test from CND Life Sciences. The spinal fluid test tracks misfolded synuclein and helps doctors diagnose brain diseases, including LBD. The skin biopsy test aims to help doctors distinguish between serious neurologic disorders.
“To have diagnostics – that can confirm in life that someone has Lewy body disease – goes a long way both toward confirming the diagnosis and advancing research,” Galvin said. “The earlier you can start people on treatments, the easier to enroll people in clinical trials to test new medications.”
- 10 min
- Kristen Rogers
15 ago 2014 · Gli scatti esclusivi pubblicati dal sito di gossip Tmz e ripresi dal Daily Mail: Heartbreaking final photos emerge of Robin Williams just a day before his suicide http://t.co/HwrOeSnsEt pic ...
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