Millions of people suffer from previously unknown forms of dementia
Researchers have now successfully identified a new form of dementia that affects millions of older people around the world. The breakthrough discovery may help cure dementia in the future.
The University of Kentucky researchers found in their current investigation that there is an unprecedented form of dementia that may have been frequently diagnosed as Alzheimer's. The results of the study were published in the English language journal "Brain".
A third of all Alzheimer's patients could actually be late
The newly identified disease is termed late (limbic-predominant age-related TDP-43 encephalopathy). Millions of older people suffer from this condition, which triggers symptoms similar to Alzheimer's. Up to a third of all people diagnosed with Alzheimer's could actually suffer from the newly identified form of dementia. It is possible that both diseases are present at the same time and this can lead to a stronger cognitive decline. Such misdiagnosis may be one reason why it has not been possible to find a cure for dementia, the researchers explain.
One in five people over the age of 80 develop late
The researchers believe that Late affects one in five people over the age of 80. More research is urgently needed to successfully treat the disease. The ultimate goal is to prevent the causes of the disease, or at least to treat the symptoms, the researchers report.
What is the difference between Late and Alzheimer's?
The difference between Alzheimer's and the newly identified disease is the type of protein build-up in the brain. In the case of late, it is TDP-43, while Alzheimer's is characterized by two proteins: beta-amyloid and tau. Currently, these can only be identified during an autopsy after death, but there is hope that further research will find biomarkers that can be used for early diagnosis.
Results will affect further studies
It is probably the most important study published on dementia in the past five years. Treatment attempts with drugs that are said to be effective against Alzheimer's have no effect against late, the authors explain in a press release. This has important implications for the choice of participants in future studies. Despite extensive research and various clinical studies, there is still no cure for dementia. (as)