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Monday, June 13, 2022
NIH-funded studies reveal credible estimates for Alzheimer’s-like brain disorder prevalence
Forty percent of all older adults and up to 50% of people with Alzheimer’s may have LATE.
New National Institutes of Health-funded research shows that the prevalence of brain changes from Limbic-predominant Age-related TDP-43 Encephalopathy (LATE) may be roughly 40% in older adults and as high as 50% in people with Alzheimer’s disease. These credible estimates come from 13 community- and population-based studies from five countries and were published today in the journal Acta Neuropathologica. LATE is a recently recognized brain disorder that mimics clinical features of Alzheimer’s, which is the most common form of dementia. People who have LATE sometimes also have one or more coexisting brain disorders such as Alzheimer’s, and in those cases, they are more likely to have worse symptoms.
This new research included autopsy, genetic, and clinical data from 6,196 study participants and adds to a growing body of evidence that a variety of disorders and disease processes contribute to dementia. Substantial contributions of samples and data were from 10 Alzheimer’s Disease Research Centers (ADRCs), which are funded by the NIH National Institute on Aging (NIA), and affiliated studies. Through the ADRCs, people donate their brains after death for autopsy research. ADRC scientists provide the autopsy results to the families and contribute to a national database that provides the broader research community with information about risk factors, symptoms, and other factors in neurodegenerative diseases. Brain donation is a critical part of discovery and makes findings like these possible. More research is needed in an even wider group of people to fully understand risk factors and symptoms of LATE.
NIA experts are available for interviews to discuss specific findings of this paper and/or the broad view of the state of Alzheimer’s and related dementias research, as well as LATE and the importance of brain donation and clinical trial participation.
- Eliezer Masliah, M.D., Director, NIA Division of Neuroscience
- Nina Silverberg, Ph.D., Director, Alzheimer’s Disease Centers Program, NIA Division of Neuroscience
The research was funded in part by NIA grants P30AG072958, P30AG072977, K08AG065463, RF1AG072080, K08AG065426, R01AG038651, UF1AG057707, R01AG021055, P30AG066519, R01AG061111, R01AG057187, P30AG072946, R01AG054449, RF1AG069052, P30AG072972, R01AG062517, U19AG069701, K24AG053435, R01AG067482, R01AG064233, R01AG022018, P30AG010161, P30AG072975, P30AG062677, U01AG006786, R01AG034676, P30AG66509, and U19AG066567.
NIA leads NIH’s systematic planning, development, and implementation of research milestones to achieve the goal of effectively treating and preventing Alzheimer’s and related dementias. These activities relate to NIA’s AD+ADRD milestones:
- 2.P, “Determine the mechanism of TDP-43 and FUS pathogenesis and toxicity.”
- 2.U, “Determine underlying pathobiologic and molecular mechanisms of cellular TDP-43 displacement, post-translational modifications such as phosphorylation, and pathology in pre-symptomatic and manifest common dementias.
Nelson P, et al. Frequency of LATE neuropathologic change across the spectrum of Alzheimer’s disease neuropathology: combined data from 13 community-based or population-based autopsy cohorts. Acta Neuropathol. doi: 10.1007/s00401-022-02444-1.
About the National Institute on Aging (NIA): NIA leads the U.S. federal government effort to conduct and support research on aging and the health and well-being of older people. Learn more about age-related cognitive change and neurodegenerative diseases via NIA’s Alzheimer's and related Dementias Education and Referral (ADEAR) Center website. Visit the main NIA website for information about a range of aging topics, in English and Spanish, and stay connected.
About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation's medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit www.nih.gov.
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