Alzheimer’s disease is one of the most feared problems of aging. Women should be especially afraid. Researchers in San Diego have found that women need to take extra precautions against losing their mental faculties as they get older.
In an evaluation of 688 women and men over the age of 65, scientists at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine found that women with mild cognitive impairment, a condition that often leads to Alzheimer’s disease (AD), experienced higher rates of memory loss than men. In this study, all women, regardless of whether they showed signs of dementia, experienced greater regional brain loss over time than did men.
The researchers do not understand why women suffer these memory problems and brain shrinkage more than men.
“Another important finding of this study is that men and women did not differ in the level of biomarkers of Alzheimer’s disease pathology,” says researcher Linda McEvoy. “This suggests that brain volume loss in women may also be caused by factors other than Alzheimer’s disease, or that in women, these pathologies are more toxic. We clearly need more research on how an individual’s sex affects AD pathogenesis.”