Doctors have newly outlined a type of dementia that could be more common than Alzheimer’s among the oldest adults, according to a report published [April 30] in the journal Brain.
The disease, called LATE, may often mirror the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease, though it affects the brain differently and develops more slowly than Alzheimer’s. Doctors say the two are frequently found together, and in those cases may lead to a steeper cognitive decline than either by itself.
The acronym LATE stands for limbic-predominant age-related TDP-43 encephalopathy. The full name refers to the area in the brain most likely to be affected, as well as the protein at the center of it all.
The new paper estimates, based on autopsy studies, that between 20 and 50% of people over 80 will have brain changes associated with LATE. And that prevalence increases with age.
Experts say nailing down these numbers — as well as finding better ways to detect and research the disease — is what they hope comes out of consensus statements like the new paper, which gives scientists a common language to discuss it.
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