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.

Monday, June 13, 2022


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.