Women with Alzheimer's deteriorate faster than men

August 24, 2012

(Medical Xpress)—Women with Alzheimer's show worse mental deterioration than men with the disease, even when at the same stage of the condition, according to researchers from the University of Hertfordshire.

In the paper published in the Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology, the researchers discovered that men with Alzheimer's consistently and significantly performed better than women with the disease across the five cognitive areas they examined. Most remarkably, the of women with Alzheimer's are worse when compared to men with the disease, which is a striking difference to the profile for the healthy population where females have a distinct advantage.

The researchers led by Professor Keith Laws completed a meta-analysis of neurocognitive data from fifteen published studies, which revealed a consistent male advantage on verbal and visuospatial tasks, and tests of both episodic1 and semantic2 memory.

Keith Laws, Professor of psychology, said: "Unlike associated with normal aging, something about Alzheimer's specifically disadvantages women.

"There has been some previous, but limited, evidence that females with Alzheimer's deteriorate faster than males in the earlier stages of the disease. And possible explanations are for a hormonal influence, possibly due to oestrogen loss in women or perhaps a greater cognitive reserve in males which provides protection against the disease process. But further studies to examine with the disease are needed to provide greater clarity on these issues."

Further analysis of the study data showed that age, and severity did not explain the advantage that men with the disease have over women with the disease.

Alzheimer's disease, a common progressive condition affecting memory, thinking, behaviour and emotion, is the most common form of dementia. Alzheimer's Disease International estimates that there are currently thirty million people in the world with dementia, with 4.6 million new cases every year. The incidence of Alzheimer's is greater among women than men, with the difference increasing with age.

More information: DOI:10.1080/13803395.2012.712676

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Gut bacteria may play a role in Alzheimer's disease

February 10, 2017

New research from Lund University in Sweden has shown that intestinal bacteria can accelerate the development of Alzheimer's disease. According to the researchers behind the study, the results open up the door to new opportunities ...

Poor odor identification may be early warning for dementia

February 3, 2017

Poor performance on a simple odor identification test was associated with a significantly increased risk of developing dementia years later, in a study of more than 2,400 older black and white adults led by Kristine Yaffe, ...

Air pollution may lead to dementia in older women

January 31, 2017

Tiny air pollution particles—the type that mainly comes from power plants and automobiles—may greatly increase the chance of dementia, including Alzheimer's disease, according to USC-led research.

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.