Dementias: LATE, LDL and HBP


Dementia research studies are leading to some amazing discoveries:

LATE Dementia—Doctors have identified a different form of dementia affecting those over the age of 80 that is often mistaken for Alzheimer’s—limbic-predominant age-related TDP-43 encephalopathy, or LATE. The name refers to the area in the brain that is most likely affected plus the protein at the center of it all, TDP-43, the proteinacious glop that is abnormal in patients with LATE. TDP-43 has also been linked to amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease) and another type of dementia, frontotemporal lobar degeneration. LATE is speculated to be about 100 times more common than either of those but not many are aware of this type of dementia. Alzheimer’s and Lewy body dementia are effected by different glops.The result of this discovery is that LATE will now be able to be studied for better detection and treatment; but also that Alzheimer’s research can be impacted as well. Treatments that have been tested in Alzheimer’s patients and failed may have been tested on patients with LATE, not Alzheimer’s.

LDL Cholesterol—One recent dementia research study found that individuals with high LDL cholesterol levels were more likely to have a diagnosis of early-onset Alzheimer’s than those with lower levels. The research team found this after accounting for higher risk due to the APOE E4 genetic variant, an Alzheimer’s risk factor that seems to be genetic. APOE E4 also has an association with high levels of LDL.

Blood Pressure Medications—Researchers analyzing data from people with and without dementia found that people who took medications to treat high blood pressure, including beta-blockers, calcium channel blockers, angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors, and angiotensin II receptor blockers, seemed to have a lower risk of dementia. Additionally, those who took the calcium channel blockers over a longer period of time had an additional decrease in dementia incidence.

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