Scientists find an an early sign of LATE, a new type of dementia

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Limbic predominate age-related TDP-43 encephalopathy or LATE is a recently recognized form of dementia that affects memory, thinking, and social skills.

It mimics Alzheimer’s disease or AD (and sometimes co-exists with it), but LATE is a different condition, with its own risks and causes.

In a study from the University of California San Diego, scientists found an early sign of LATE.

The findings provide new insights into the pathology of LATE, which could help lead to the development of diagnostics for the disease.

In the study, the team reported strongly elevated levels of TDP-43, a DNA-binding protein that has previously been associated with other neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer’s disease, though the last condition is much more commonly characterized by the accumulation of two other proteins: amyloid-beta and tau.

The researchers analyzed the brains of 64 patients post-mortem, 22 with autopsy-confirmed LATE and 42 patients who died without an indication of LATE.

The effect was detected only in astrocyte-derived exosomes, not neuronal or microglial.

Astrocytes are a sub-type of glial cells that perform many essential functions in the central nervous system, from regulating blood flow to providing the building blocks of neurotransmitters.

They outnumber neurons more than fivefold.

Effective treatment of all neurological diseases depends greatly upon early diagnosis.

At the moment, however, LATE can only be diagnosed after death, and it is often confounded by the fact that living patients may have both LATE and AD.

The findings that increased plasma concentrations of TDP-43 could be a tell-tale indicator of LATE are encouraging.

The team says that leveraging the findings could lead to not only earlier diagnoses of dementia, but improved accuracy.

People with LATE have memory problems, but they often occur at a slower rate of clinical change than persons with AD.

They may begin with difficulty remembering facts and conversations, becoming increasingly more forgetful, and eventually struggling with daily activities, such as dressing, cooking or paying bills.

LATE usually affects older individuals, particularly those over the age of 80, though dementia is not part of the typical aging process.

If you care about dementia, please read studies about how the Mediterranean diet could protect your brain health, and coffee and tea drinking may protect you from stroke and dementia.

For more information about brain health, please see recent studies about Vitamin D deficiency linked to higher dementia risk, and these antioxidants could help reduce dementia risk.

The study was conducted by Robert Rissman et al and published in the journal Alzheimer’s & Dementia: Diagnosis, Assessment & Disease Monitoring.

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