LATE: What Canadians should know about the Alzheimer’s mimic
In this April 29, 2019 photo provided by the University of Kentucky, Dr. Peter T. Nelson inspects a section of brain in the neuropathology lab at the Sanders-Brown Center for Aging in Lexington, Ky. (Mark Cornelison/University of Kentucky via AP)
CTVNews.ca staff, with files from Elizabeth St. Philip
Published Tuesday, April 30, 2019 6:56PM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, April 30, 2019 7:19PM EDT
A newly identified form of dementia causes similar symptoms to Alzheimer’s disease, but is actually a separate condition that only mimics Alzheimer’s.
A study released Tuesday provides the most comprehensive scientific look yet at Limbic-predominant Age-related TDP-43 Encephalopathy, or LATE.
Dr. Mario Masellis, a neurologist and aging specialist at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto, told CTV News that it is important for people to be aware that there are multiple explanations for Alzheimer’s-like symptoms.
“Even though a patient over the age of 65 may have symptoms that look like Alzheimer’s disease, the underlying brain changes may not be Alzheimer’s or may be due to Alzheimer’s disease and other pathologies, including this one,” he said.
According to Masellis, the study also suggests that patients diagnosed with Alzheimer’s based on current medical best practices may instead of LATE or another form of dementia.
“This … is most certainly an important contributing factor to why clinical trials to date in Alzheimer’s have failed,” he said.
While the finding is big news in the medical community, Masellis cautioned that it may not mean much for individual patients at this point. The big hope is that the discovery could lead to the development of new treatments for Alzheimer’s or LATE.