A new form of dementia close to Alzheimer’s is spreading among the elderly

THE ESSENTIAL

  • In France, more than 1,175,000 people suffer from Alzheimer’s disease and more than 200,000 new cases of Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia are diagnosed each year.
  • The 5 main types of dementia are Alzheimer’s disease, dementia with Lewy bodies, vascular dementia, frontotemporal dementia, and mixed dementia.

Its impact would be “as important as Alzheimer’s” in older patients, the researchers say. A form of dementia called “Late Dementia” appears to be gaining ground among octogenarians, according to a new study.

40% of older people worried

Discovered in 2019 by neuroscientists from the University of Kentucky in the United States, Late’s syndrome (due to age-related TDP-43 encephalopathy with limbic predominance) is similar to Alzheimer’s disease in terms of its symptoms, the main one being a loss progressing of memory to affect all daily activities. But the treatments commonly prescribed to treat this notorious neurodegenerative disease are ineffective against Late. Its origin is indeed different and, at this stage, still unknown.

However, a large clinical study has been started to assess the prevalence of this pathology in the population. More than 6,000 participants, with an average age of 88 and from all over the world, participated in the study. Their brains were analyzed in the form of biopsy, genetic and clinical data. And the first results fell, published in the journal Acta Neuropathologica : approximately 40% of the elderly would be affected by this new form of dementia (they were only 25% during the previous survey of 2019). A proportion that rises to more than 50% among older people who already have Alzheimer’s.

A hope for the treatment of dementia

“Since older ages are when dementia is more common, Late’s results are particularly important. Although there are many differences between the studies combined here, from design to methodologies, they reveal the importance of Late and suggest that our findings will be relevant beyond any one country or region of the world.”, Carol Brayne saidprofessor of public health at the University of Cambridge and member of the research team, to SciTechDaily.

This discovery gives hope to the medical profession, because it could explain the bitter failure of the Alzheimer’s therapies tested so far: it just wasn’t the right diagnosis. Now it is necessary to find an effective drug against Late.


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