A recent study led by Katherine Lin at Duke University examined 400 people with mild cognitive impairment. The participants took an 11-section test evaluating a variety of mental and cognitive abilities over the course of several years. The results showed that females’ scores on the test decreased twice as quickly as did men’s.
Additional researchers provided several factors to explain the result of Lin’s study.
Dr. Katie Schenning of Oregon Health & Science University conducted a study evaluating 527 individuals, 182 whom had surgery with anesthesia. Dr. Schenning discovered that compared to men, women exposed to anesthesia during surgery, “had a much more rapid rate of decline” and more evidence of brain shrinkage. The type of anesthesia or surgery did not matter.
Dr. Michael Weiner of the University of California San Francisco conducted a study of 1,000 individuals, 700 whom showed a form of cognitive impairment. After examining the participants with PET scans, Dr. Weiner found that even after accounting for additional factors, women have more of the brain-clogging protein, amyloid, than men.
Researches are unsure why women are affected more adversely by anesthesia or why they seem to worsen twice as fast as men. Women should should carefully consider the adverse effects of anesthesia and surgery before undergoing surgery. We will update this article as more information becomes available.