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Dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB) is caused by degeneration of brain tissue. Lewy bodies in the brain affect substances called neurotransmitters. A neurotransmitter is a chemical that helps to transmit signals from one nerve cell to another.
One type of neurotransmitter is dopamine, which helps transmit signals that cause muscle movement. Lewy bodies interfere with the production of dopamine. A lack of dopamine causes movement problems such as those seen in Parkinson's disease (PD).
Acetylcholine is another type of neurotransmitter found in the parts of the brain, responsible for memory, thinking, and processing information. When Lewy bodies build up in these areas, they lead to a deficiency in acetylcholine, causing symptoms of dementia.