May 13, 2020 by Dean Bellefeuille

An older adult who exhibits loss of memory, confusion, poor judgment, repetition, and problems with completing day to day activities has the distinguishing signs of Alzheimer’s disease, right? Actually, what seems like an obvious case of Alzheimer’s may in fact be a newly recognized dementia.

Known as LATE, or limbic-predominant age-related TDP-43 encephalopathy, this diagnosis presents with almost identical symptoms, but the root cause is another story. As opposed to the buildup of amyloid plaques and tangles inherent with Alzheimer’s, LATE is diagnosed by deposits of TDP-43 protein, according to Dr. Julie Schneider, associate director for the Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center.

And TDP-43 protein issues are in fact quite common in seniors, with as many as one in four older adults over age 85 impacted enough to cause recognizable cognitive and/or memory issues. Yet it continues to be an under-diagnosed condition, which might result in mis-diagnoses, and consequently, inappropriate treatment plans.

The latest guidelines call for seniors who have been diagnosed with LATE to be pulled from Alzheimer’s medication research, focusing research alternatively on establishing biomarkers to better detect LATE, to locate therapeutic intervention methods, and to expand testing to include a broader array of diverse populations, in an effort to perfect both prevention and treatment.

Being familiar with the differences between both types of dementia is paramount to appropriate treatment, and according to Dr. James Pickett, head of research at the Alzheimer’s Society, “This evidence may also go some way to help us understand why some recent clinical trials testing for Alzheimer’s disease have failed – participants may have had slightly different brain diseases.”

Key components of LATE include:

  • Generally affecting older adults over age 80
  • A much slower advancement than Alzheimer’s
  • Usually only affects memory
  • Could be combined with Alzheimer’s disease, which leads to an even more rapid decline

Whether Alzheimer’s disease, LATE, or some other form of dementia, At Home Independent Living provides the fully customized, skilled and creative caregiving that helps senior loved ones live the highest possible quality of life where it’s most comfortable: at home. Our care aides are fully trained and experienced in assisting those with dementia, as well as family caregivers, to more effectively manage the varying challenges experienced in each stage.

Contact us any time at (315) 579-HOME (4663) to ask about further dementia care resources, find answers to your questions, or to schedule a consultation to discover more about how we can assist with home or dementia care in Syracuse, NY and the surrounding areas.