Alzheimer’s Society comments as follows:
A recently recognized brain disorder that mimics clinical features of Alzheimer’s disease has for the first time been defined with recommended diagnostic criteria and other guidelines by scientists from several National Institutes of Health-funded institutions, in collaboration with international peers, in a report published on April 30, 2019, in the journal Brain.
The authors wrote that Limbic-predominant Age-related TDP-43 Encephalopathy, or LATE, is an under-recognized condition with a very large impact on public health.
The clinical and neurocognitive features of LATE affect multiple areas of cognition, ultimately impairing activities of daily life. Additionally, based on existing research, the authors suggested that LATE progresses more gradually than Alzheimer’s.
However, LATE combined with Alzheimer’s–which is common for these two highly prevalent brain diseases–appears to cause a more rapid decline than either would alone.
Dr James Pickett, Head of Research at Alzheimer’s Society, commented: “Dementia is an extremely complex condition, that may be caused by many different underlying diseases. Though at an early stage, this research is taking a real step forward by proposing a new sub-type of dementia. This type of research is the first step towards more precise diagnosis and personalised treatment for dementia, much as we’ve started to see in other serious diseases such as breast cancer.
“This evidence may also go some way to help us understand why some recent clinical trials testing treatment for Alzheimer’s disease have failed – participantsmay have had slightly different brain diseases. But, more research into LATE is required to clarify specific symptoms, identify biomarkers, understand risk factors and develop treatments.
“Although diagnosis rates are improving there are still many people living in limbo without an explanation for their symptoms. That is why Alzheimer’s Society is investing over £3.5 million into research to accurately diagnose different types of dementia so people can access the support they need and take part in relevant clinical trials.”