Medical professionals have long suspected that Alzheimer's and dementia occur more often and progress more rapidly in women than in men. Recently, several studies have confirmed these beliefs and attribute these findings to the fact that women possess more of the harmful compound Amyloid. Amyloid is currently believed to be one of the primary compounds responsible for causing Alzheimer's disease.
Women have double the chance of developing Alzheimer's as men.
A study led by Katherine Lin at Duke University examined 400 people with mild cognitive impairment. The participants took an 11-section test which evaluated a variety of mental and cognitive abilities. The test was repeatedly adminstered over several years in order to track the progression of the disease. The study showed that females’ scores on the test decreased twice as quickly as did men’s.
A second study conducted by Dr. Michael Weiner of the University of California San Francisco examined 1,000 individuals, 700 whom showed a form of cognitive impairment. After examining the participants with PET scans, Dr. Weiner found that after accounting for additional factors, women have more of the brain-clogging protein, amyloid, than men.
These findings, in conjunction with our knowledge of Amyloid, provide a realistic explanation for the increased rate of progression and increased rate of occurence of Alzheimer's disease in women.
Women, especially those with a family history of Alzheimer's or memory loss, should be as proactive as possible in their measures to reduce their risk of developing Alzheimer's or dementia.
Learn More: What is Amyloid?
Learn More: Alzheimer's Prevention