In a recent study at the University of Kentucky, researchers found a complex and under-recognized form of dementia.
The study is published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA): Neurology. One author is Erin Abner, an associate professor at the Sanders-Brown Center on Aging (SBCoA) and College of Public Health.
In the study, the team used brain autopsy data from 375 older adults within the University of Kentucky Alzheimer Disease Center Brain Bank.
This work builds on the study done last year by the team to discover a form of dementia caused by TDP-43 proteinopathy now known as LATE.
Although TDP-43 exists normally in a non-disease causing form, it is seen in multiple debilitating diseases in addition to LATE, including ALS and frontotemporal dementia.
As the team reviewed clinical and brain autopsy data for research participants, they noticed there were significantly more people than expected that had not only Alzheimer’s pathology but also pathology indicating Lewy bodies (alpha synuclein), and the ‘newest brain bad guy’—TDP-43.
The team called this new form of dementia quadruple misfolded proteins, or QMP.
The researchers then obtained more data to conduct a study of how often QMP occurred and what that meant for the participant with QMP.
The study found that about 20% of the participants with dementia had QMP, and their dementia was the most severe.
The team says this is not good news, because it means that even if researchers could completely cure Alzheimer’s disease, they still have to deal with TDP-43 and alpha synuclein, and they are common in old age.
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