Nearly 40% of Older Adult Brains in an NIA-funded Study Showed Signs of LATE, a Form of Dementia

A recent NIA-funded study found that nearly 40% of participants had brain changes associated with limbic-predominant age-related TDP-43 encephalopathy (LATE). LATE is a recently characterized brain disorder that causes symptoms similar to Alzheimer’s disease but with different underlying causes. There is currently no way to diagnose LATE in living people.

In this study, a team of researchers tried to estimate how many older adults may experience LATE. Researchers analyzed the brains of 6,196 people with an average age of death at 88 years. The donated brains came from participants in 13 community- or population-based aging studies conducted in five countries. The study found that almost 40% of participants had clusters of the protein TDP-43, indicating they may have had LATE. In addition, about 55% of the participants who had high levels of amyloid plaques, a hallmark of Alzheimer’s, also had TDP-43 clusters, suggesting that LATE may be even more common in people who have Alzheimer’s.

The results support the idea that recognizing LATE as a distinct disorder may ultimately help researchers better understand and develop treatments for those who experience dementia. The results also highlight the value of participation in brain donation studies, such as those conducted by the NIA Alzheimer’s Disease Research Centers.

Learn more about the research study.

Last Updated on November 29, 2022

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