A recent study claims that women with dementia decline faster than men. Researchers reported that women who form minor but noticeable deficits in mental acuity and memory later in their lives decline faster than men with the same condition.
Two thirds of all the 5 million people in America who suffer from Alzheimer’s are women. This is partially because women tend to survive longer with the disease. Scientists have searched with no results for numerous years in order to reveal other reasons why this is so.
The authors of the study who revealed it at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference said that their discoveries don’t reveal anything about a possible cause for the difference in genders and don’t have any implications for a possible treatment.
Dr. Murali Doraiswamy, a geriatric psychiatrist from the Columbia University and one of the authors of the study said that previous studies had discovered a higher decline in women who suffer from the disease during a period of around one year. And while these discoveries are definitely interesting, it is still very early to draw many conclusions. He added that he looks at the new research as a great hypothesis generator. It is something that the scientists need to investigate further.
The scientists analyzed the scores from standard cognitive tests given to 398 men and women in their ‘70s. The participants in the study took cognitive tests on an average of four years to eight years maximum. Analyzing different factors that have an impact on memory, such as genetic predisposition, education and age, the scientists discovered that the scores from women were lower by around two points a year, when compared to the one point in the tests given to men.
The scientists also analyzed the quality of life in the patients and rated how well the people functioned in a social environment, including time spent with the family, at home and at work. That also revealed that the women with dementia decline faster than men. However, there wasn’t enough evidence to come to the conclusion that over the course of the research, more women than men developed full dementia.
Doraiswamy said that they will need more time and more numbers in order to reach a conclusion. However, he did add that it is important to continue in the research.
If the new study claiming that women with dementia decline faster than men will be confirmed any further, it should change the way the trials for Alzheimer’s are devised.
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