Both Parkinson’s disease and dementia were ravaging the brain and behavior of actor Robin Williams before his death, but at the time, he didn’t realize he had the latter.
Despite the fact that the signs of this combination can be confusing, the double diagnosis of Parkinson’s and dementia impacts a large number of people. Of the one million people who have Parkinson’s in the U.S., 50 to 80 percent may have dementia—either as a result of Parkinson’s pathology, or separately.
Robin Williams’ widow, Susan, wrote an editorial published in Neurology that was addressed to neurologists after his death. In it, she shared what it was like seeing her husband experience both Parkinson’s disease and Lewy body dementia firsthand.