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Medical News & Perspectives
August 21, 2019

Debate Sparks Over LATE, a Recently Recognized Dementia

JAMA. 2019;322(10):914-916. doi:10.1001/jama.2019.12232

This spring, a group of 35 experts introduced what they say is a recently recognized form of dementia: limbic-predominant age-related TDP-43 encephalopathy, or LATE. Aptly named, LATE strikes “the oldest old”—usually those in their 80s and 90s—causing progressive memory loss.

According to the group’s report, which appeared in the journal Brain, the condition has largely flown under the radar in part because its symptoms mimic those of Alzheimer disease. The key difference shows up on autopsies. Some people with clinically diagnosed dementia have a buildup of misfolded TAR DNA-binding protein 43 (TDP-43) primarily in limbic brain regions, the areas involved in learning and memory, among other functions. These TDP-43 deposits are the hallmark that sets LATE apart from Alzheimer disease, according to Peter Nelson, MD, PhD, the report’s lead author and a neuropathologist at the University of Kentucky in Lexington.