Study: Why Women With Mild Congnitive Impairments Degenerate Faster Than Men

TUESDAY, July 21, 2015: women who suffer from moderate thinking and memory problems called mild cognitive impairment , degenerate two times as rapidly mentally as men, with similar condition, states new research.

Mild cognitive impairment is not acute enough to hinder your daily chores and activities but it is prone to maturing into Alzheimer’s disease or a form of dementia, the researchers added.

“Our findings do suggest greater vulnerability in women with mild cognitive impairment stage, which is more severe than normal memory loss and is an intermediary stage between aging and dementia,” said Katherine Lin, the lead researcher and a clinical research scholar at Duke University in Durham, N.C.

Numerous factors may rationalize the fact that women are at a greater risk of developing it. Lin said. “Women may be genetically predisposed to developing more plaque in the brain, which is a hallmark of Alzheimer’s, or perhaps there is an as-yet-unknown genetic cause.”she added.

“To determine the reasons, gender-specific research into Alzheimer’s disease needs to become a priority.” Lin said. “Potentially, Alzheimer’s prevention trials could test treatment effects separately by gender,” she suggested.

The outcome of her study was scheduled to be presented on Tuesday at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference, which is in Washington, D.C. Data and conclusions proffered at conferences are mostly considered preliminary, till the time they are published in a peer-reviewed medical journal.

Dr. Luca Giliberto, an Alzheimer’s investigator at the Feinstein Institute for Medical Research in Manhasset, N.Y., mentioned another theory: “Women may have better cognitive reserve than men Giliberto said.

Due to the better mental reserve, it’s plausible that women may degenerate later than men, but may progress at a greater speed once the fall-off commences, he said. Moreover, Giliberto claimed that there may be a hormonal component that affects the pace of deterioration, which is possibly linked to estrogen levels.

For this study, Lin and colleagues accumulated data on about 400 men and women, who had thinking and memory issues, those who participated in the Alzheimer’s Disease Neuroimaging Initiative. Participants were mostly in their mid-70s when this study initiated.

In an eight year follow-up period, the thinking and memory of women declined two times as speedily as men, according to a standard test known as the Mini Mental State Examination. The pace of mental slippage in men was 1.05 points in a year, while in women it was 2.3 points annually, on that test.

For both men and women who had a particular gene mutation – known as the ApoE4 Alzheimer’s risk gene – the rate of mental degeneration was even more rapid, the researchers claimed.

Dean Hartley, who is the director of science initiatives at the Alzheimer’s Association, concurred that further research is required to comprehend gender discrepancies associated with Alzheimer’s, which is one of the most familiar type of dementia.

Hartley explained that women constitute 75% of those who progress into Alzheimer’s disease. “We also know that 75 percent of the caregivers are women, so women are carrying a big burden,” he added.

Women have a longer life span than men. By the time they begin having memory and thinking obstructions, they have attained a later stage in life and that may explain why there deterioration is so rapid. Hartley said. “It’s also possible that biological differences between the sexes are at work, he added.”

“The Alzheimer’s Association is looking at these differences because it might affect how we need to treat these people,” he said.

More information

The U.S. National Institutes of Health outlines the warning signs of Alzheimer’s.

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