Senior Women with Gentle Smile

The experts at Atlanta Home Care Partners explain how LATE disease is often mistaken for Alzheimer’s.

An individual who displays loss of memory, confusion, poor judgment, repetition, and difficulty with completing day to day activities shows classic symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease, right? In actuality, what might look to be an obvious case of Alzheimer’s could in fact be a newly discovered form of dementia: LATE disease.

Referred to as LATE, or limbic-predominant age-related TDP-43 encephalopathy, this diagnosis includes almost the same symptoms, but the underlying cause is another story. Instead of the buildup of amyloid plaques and tangles inherent with Alzheimer’s, LATE disease is diagnosed by deposits of TDP-43 protein, according to Dr. Julie Schneider, associate director of the Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center.

And TDP-43 protein troubles happen to be quite common in older adults, with as many as one in four seniors over age 85 affected enough to cause detectable thinking and/or memory problems. However, it remains an under-diagnosed condition, which can lead to misdiagnosis, and therefore, inappropriate treatment options.

The latest recommendations call for seniors who have been diagnosed with LATE to be pulled from Alzheimer’s medication research, concentrating research instead on establishing biomarkers to better diagnose LATE disease, to identify therapeutic intervention methods, and to increase testing to include a broader 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 the best 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 older adults over age 80
  • A much slower advancement than Alzheimer’s
  • For the most part only affects memory
  • May be combined with Alzheimer’s disease, that leads to a more rapid decline

Whether Alzheimer’s disease, LATE, or some other form of dementia, Atlanta Home Care Partners provides fully customized, skilled, and creative home care services that can help seniors live the best possible quality of life where it’s most comfortable: at home. Our home healthcare agency in Atlanta, GA provides caregivers that are professionally trained and experienced in helping those diagnosed with dementia, along with helping family caregivers, to more fully manage the varying difficulties experienced in each stage.

Give us a call now at (404) 228-0103 to request additional dementia care resources, find answers to the questions you have, or even schedule an in-home assessment to discover more about how we can assist a senior you love with dementia.