Healthy Living

Scientists Trace Alzheimer’s-Like Symptoms In New Form Of Dementia

It seems that there’s no shortage of bad neurological disease and illnesses that come with old age. As a matter of fact, scientists and researchers have found a new form of dementia, which attacks people when they’re at the last decades of their lives.

Aptly named LATE (which means Limbic-predominant age-related TDP-43 encephalopahty) due to its nature, the newly described disease has symptoms that are similar to that of Alzheimer’s, although scientists have reason to believe that it’s actually caused by something entirely different.

“This is a disease that really attacks the very latest portion of the human aging spectrum,” said study co-author Peter Nelson, who currently works as a neuropathologist at Lexington’s University of Kentucky and who helped organize a meeting last year that helped address the new disease.

According to Nelson, it’s likely that about a quarter of people aged 85 and higher have LATE. Furthermore, the neuropathologist stated that LATE comes with dementia and memory trouble – both of which are symptoms commonly associated with Alzheimer’s. However, instead of the usual brains of those with Alzheimer’s that are filled with plagues and tangles, the new disease is characterized by TDP-43. A lesser-known protein, it apparently accumulates and spreads throughout the person’s entire brain, primarily targeting both the amygdala and the hippocampus.

In a release, Nelson and his colleagues described the signs of the disease in the brain. The problem is, these signs can only be identified after the person has already passed away.

And unfortunately, there are no clinical tests that can identify LATE in a living person as of the moment. Presently, LATE can be identified after any other possible disorders have been ruled out, which, according to Neurologist Michael Greicius of Stanford University, makes it a “diagnosis of exclusion.”

The neurologist also pointed out that since many complications can be present in the brains of old people (all of which contribute to dementia), it may be harder to pin down the disease.

For now, however, the description of LATE gives both scientists and researchers a solid starting point on where to go with understanding this new disease.