doctor viewing brain scans

Researchers at the University of Kentucky’s Sanders-Brown Center on Aging said a form of dementia discovered three years ago could be prevalent in 40% of older adults and up to 50% in Alzheimer’s patients. The researchers published their findings on limbic-predominant age-related TDP-43 encephalopathy (LATE) in Acta Neuropathologica.

Thirteen existing community and population-based study cohorts contributed data for new research into LATE. The study included autopsies, genetic and clinical data from more than 6,000 brains from five different countries and across three continents. The results revealed more than a third of their brains had LATE pathology.

“Given older ages are when dementia is most common, the LATE findings are particularly important,” Carol Brayne, M.D., professor of public health medicine at the University of Cambridge, said. “Although there are many differences between the studies that are combined here — from design to methodologies  — they all reveal the importance of LATE and suggest our findings will be relevant beyond any individual country or region of the world.”

LATE symptoms mimic those of Alzheimer’s disease, including memory loss, problems thinking and reasoning in old age. However, researchers found LATE-affected brains look different from Alzheimer’s brains and therapies that work for one may not necessarily work for the other. 

Researchers from nearly a dozen universities, including Northwestern University, Duke University, Stanford University and the University of Washington were involved in the study. 

The study comes just months after a Medicare billing  study found that nearly a half of billing claims from 2017 mentioned a dementia diagnosis within two years of patients’ death. 

Learn more about the LATE findings.