Alzheimer’s disease hits women harder than men, even when both are at the same stage of the disease.
Researchers found that women with
Alzheimer's disease consistently scored worse than men across the five
cognitive areas they studied, particularly in verbal skills, according to findings published in the Journal
of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology.
The latest findings are important because it goes against the
general profile for the healthy population where women have a distinct
Lead researcher Professor Keith Laws of the University of
Hertfordshire conducted a comprehensive review of neurocognitive data from 15
previous studies and found "a consistent male advantage on verbal and
visuospatial tasks and tests of episodic and semantic memory," researchers
Episodic memory is an individual's ability to recall and
remember specific events in their personal past while semantic memory is
factual knowledge that a person acquires without any personal feeling or
"Unlike mental decline associated with normal aging,
something about Alzheimer's specifically disadvantages women," Laws said
in a statement.
Researchers say that further analysis of the results from the
study showed that age, education level and dementia severity cannot explain the
advantage that men with the disease have over women.
However, they suggest that hormones might be a possible
explanation, explaining that postmenopausal women have a loss of
They also posit that in men may have a "greater
cognitive reserve" that protects them against the disease.
Alzheimer's disease, the most common form of dementia, has no
cure and it worsens as it progresses, affecting memory, thinking, behavior,
emotion and eventually leads to death.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services estimates
that around 5.1 Americans suffer from mind-robbing disease, predicts that by
2050, the number of patients affected with the mental disease will double.