Living with Dementia: Is It Alzheimer’s, or a new-found dementia called LATE?

When living with dementia, it’s important to ensure a correct diagnosis.

An individual who displays memory loss, confusion, poor judgment, repetition, and challenges with carrying out day-to-day activities has the distinguishing signs and symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease, right? The truth is, what seems like a clear-cut case of Alzheimer’s may really be a newly recognized dementia.

Referred to as LATE, or limbic-predominant age-related TDP-43 encephalopathy, this condition demonstrates nearly 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 recognized by deposits of TDP-43 protein, as reported by Dr. Julie Schneider, associate director of the Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center.

And TDP-43 protein problems are, in fact, quite typical in older persons, with as many as one in four people over age 85 impacted enough to cause detectable cognitive and/or memory issues. Nonetheless it remains an under-diagnosed condition, which could result in misdiagnoses, and consequently, inappropriate treatment methods.

The most up-to-date guidelines call for those who have been diagnosed with LATE to be removed from Alzheimer’s medication research, concentrating research alternatively on developing biomarkers to better diagnose LATE, to identify therapeutic intervention methods, and to expand testing to include a broader variety of diverse populations, in order to improve both prevention and treatment.

Understanding the differences between both forms of dementia is vital to receive accurate 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 include:

  • Predominantly affecting seniors over age 80
  • A much slower progression than Alzheimer’s
  • In general only affects memory
  • Could be combined with Alzheimer’s disease, which leads to a far more rapid decline

Whether Alzheimer’s disease, LATE, or another form of dementia, CareWorks Health Services, the premier provider of in-home supportive services in Orange County, provides the fully customized, skilled and creative home care that can help older adults living with dementia experience the best possible quality of life where it is most comfortable: at home. Our caregivers are thoroughly trained and experienced in helping individuals diagnosed with dementia, along with helping family caregivers, to more effectively manage the various difficulties experienced in each stage.

Contact us online or call us now at (949) 859-4700 to request more dementia care resources, find answers to the questions you have, or even schedule an in-home assessment to learn more about how we can assist someone you love with dementia.