The Disease That Mimics Alzheimer’s: LATE dementia

Senior Women with Gentle Smile
Learn how to distinguish between Alzheimer’s and LATE dementia in older adults.

An older adult who displays loss of memory, confusion, poor judgment, repetition, and problems with performing daily activities has the distinguishing signs and symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease, right? As a matter of fact, what seems to be a clear-cut case of Alzheimer’s may in fact be a recently discovered dementia: LATE dementia.

Known as LATE, or limbic-predominant age-related TDP-43 encephalopathy, this condition demonstrates almost identical symptoms, however the underlying cause is another story. Rather than the buildup of amyloid plaques and tangles inherent with Alzheimer’s, LATE is recognized by deposits of TDP-43 protein, as reported by Dr. Julie Schneider, associate director for the Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center.

And TDP-43 protein troubles are in fact quite typical in older persons, with as many as one out of four adults over age 85 affected enough to cause recognizable thinking and/or memory problems. Nonetheless it remains an under-diagnosed condition, which might lead to mis-diagnoses, and consequently, inappropriate treatment.

The latest guidelines call for people who have been identified as having LATE dementia to be removed from Alzheimer’s medication research, focusing research alternatively on developing biomarkers to better recognize LATE, to locate therapeutic intervention methods, and to increase testing to include a wider selection of diverse populations, in an effort to improve both prevention and treatment.

Becoming familiar with the differences between both forms of dementia is key to proper 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 aspects of LATE dementia include:

  • Generally affecting seniors over age 80
  • A much slower advancement than Alzheimer’s
  • Usually only affects memory
  • Could be accompanied by Alzheimer’s disease, which leads to a more rapid decline

Whether Alzheimer’s disease, LATE, or another type of dementia, Midnight Sun Home Care, Anchorage, Alaska’s best senior help provider, offers the fully customized, skilled and creative home care that helps cherished older adults live the best possible quality of life where it’s most comfortable: at home. Our caregivers are thoroughly trained and experienced in helping individuals with dementia, as well as family caregivers, to more fully manage the varying challenges experienced in each stage.

Call us now at (907) 677-7890 to request additional dementia care resources, find answers to your questions, or to schedule an assessment to find more about how we can assist a family member you love with dementia.


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