Published on: June 13, 2018
by The Society for Women’s Health Research:
To prevent and treat Alzheimer’s disease, scientists need to better understand how the disease differs between women and men, according to a paper published today in Alzheimer’s & Dementia – The Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association.
Written by the Society for Women’s Health Research Interdisciplinary Network on Alzheimer’s Disease, the paper states that more research is needed into sex differences in Alzheimer’s disease to improve prevention, diagnosis, and treatment for both women and men.
“A growing body of research shows us that Alzheimer’s disease differs between women and men,” said Pauline M. Maki, PhD, chair of the SWHR Network on Alzheimer’s Disease and co-senior author on the paper. “To improve the diagnosis of the disease and to speed the development of new treatments and interventions, we must better understand how the biological and sociocultural differences between women and men are influencing the development, progression, and treatment of Alzheimer’s.”
About 5.7 million Americans are currently living with Alzheimer’s disease, two-thirds of whom are women. In the U.S., Alzheimer’s is the fifth leading cause of death for women and the eighth leading cause of death for men. Alzheimer’s and other dementias will cost the U.S. an estimated $277 billion this year, and on its current trajectory, the annual costs could rise to more than $1.1 trillion dollars by 2050.
While progress has been made in Alzheimer’s research, little attention has been given to the differences between women and men, resulting in a lack of knowledge and awareness about this topic in the research community and in the public, the researchers note.
Biological sex plays a role in Alzheimer’s disease risk. For example, some risk factors have a stronger effect in one sex. The most common genetic risk factor for Alzheimer’s is APOE ε4, but women with APOE ε4 are at greater risk for developing Alzheimer’s than men with APOE ε4.
Presentation and progression of Alzheimer’s also differs between the sexes. After receiving a diagnosis of dementia, women decline faster than men. Women are also more likely to show outward signs of dementia than men who have the same amount of Alzheimer’s pathology, such as plaques and tangles in the brain. But we do not yet understand why.
To promote future research, the paper identifies gaps in knowledge like these and makes recommendations on high-priority areas.
These priority research areas include:
Here’s some of the “Best Brain Boosts” we’ve discovered to help women boost their brain health, providing a buffer against cognitive decline.
Thanks to the ongoing support of our partner Brain Canada, and The Citrine Foundation of Canada, Women’s Brain Health Initiative’s newest edition of MIND OVER MATTER has just been published. Loaded with interesting science-based articles, MIND OVER...
Men and women aged over 50 can reap similar relative benefits from resistance training, a new study led by UNSW Sydney shows. While men are likely to gain more absolute muscle size, the gains...
The material presented through the Think Tank feature on this website is in no way intended to replace professional medical care or attention by a qualified practitioner. WBHI strongly advises all questioners and viewers using this feature with health problems to consult a qualified physician, especially before starting any treatment. The materials provided on this website cannot and should not be used as a basis for diagnosis or choice of treatment. The materials are not exhaustive and cannot always respect all the most recent research in all areas of medicine.