Researchers have discovered a new type of dementia, ‘Late’, which may have been misdiagnosed as Alzheimers disease in around one third of cases involving elderly people.
The new type of dementia, limbic-predominant age-related TDP-43 encephalopathy or ‘Late’, has similar symptoms to Alzheimer’s disease but involves a more gradual decline in memory loss. It is linked to an accumulation of the protein TDP-43 in the brain, whereas Alzheimer’s disease is linked to the accumulation of the proteins amyloid and tau in the brain.
Professor Robert Howard from University College London commented:
“This is probably the most important paper to be published in the field of dementia in the last five years.
The finding has important implications for future treatments of Alzheimer’s disease, as failed drug trials which aimed at reducing proteins in the brain may have been impacted by the inclusion of misdiagnosed test-subjects. It is also hoped that this will prompt more research and development into dementia treatments, as there are currently no effective new therapies.
Dr Pete Nelson from the University of Kentucky, the lead author of the paper, commented:
“There’s no doubt that many people who were previously called Alzheimer’s, in fact, did not have Alzheimer’s.”
“Alzheimer’s disease is something that everyone knows about – it’s a way of getting dementia – but there are different diseases as well and this disease we are calling Late is one of the most common, and so it is sort of an exciting time to begin and do research and trying to optimise and develop therapies.”
For further information, please see the research paper which can be found here.