Why More Women Than Men Get Alzheimers Disease
About two thirds of people with Alzheimers disease are women. Scientists have long thought the main reason why more women than men get the illness is because women tend to live longer than men, and advancing age is the primary risk factors for Alzheimers disease. But a new study is revisiting the hypothesis that hormonal differences, especially estrogen, between women and men might explain the highest prevalence in women. This study suggests that the hormonal changes that occur with menopause may play an important role in explaining the gender disparity.
The study found that middle-aged women are far more likely than their male peers to have brain changes that are a precursor to developing Alzheimers, even though symptoms like impairments in memory and thinking skills are not yet apparent.
Our findings suggest that hormonal factors may predict who will have changes in the brain, said study author Lisa Mosconi, of Weill Cornell Medicine in New York. Our results show changes in brain imaging features, or biomarkers in the brain, suggesting menopausal status may be the best predictor of Alzheimers related brain changes in women. The findings appeared in Neurology, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.
For the study, researchers looked at 85 women and 36 men ranging in age from 40 to 65; their average age was 52. None had memory impairment of other symptoms of Alzheimers disease.
Dementia With Lewy Bodies
In this and other forms of dementia, proteins called Lewy bodies build up and damage brain cells. Dementia with Lewy bodies can lead to problems with memory and movement. Someone with this condition might act out dreams or see things that arenât there . Although thereâs no cure, your doctor can help treat symptoms.
Numbers Of People With Dementia By Gender
The national breakdown;of dementia prevalence by gender is shown below. Englands greater population of people leads to the much higher numbers of people with dementia though a similar gender breakdown is seen across the UK.
Dementia also has a greater impact on women as the majority of carers are women.
Exploring The Role Of Kdm6a
The authors of the new study suspected the KDM6A gene may help account for the differences observed in mice with one versus two X chromosomes.
When mice have two X chromosomes, most of the genes on the second X chromosome are inactivated. But KDM6A is one of a small group of genes that remains active on both chromosomes.
After reviewing a public dataset of gene expression studies, the researchers found that about 14 percent of people carry a particularly active variant of the KDM6A gene.
This variant of the gene wasnt associated with lower risk of developing Alzheimers disease, but it was linked to slower cognitive decline in people who have the disease.
When the researchers engineered male mice with Alzheimers disease to produce more KDM6A protein than usual, they found the mice performed much better than average on cognitive tests.
Looking To The Future
The G8 and the Prime Minister’s Challenge have committed to finding a disease modifying therapy for dementia by 2025.
With women being 65 per cent of the people affected by dementia, we must make sure that any new therapy works for them as well as men.
From lab to the pharmacy, it’s important dementia research, care and treatment can improve the lives of both men and women.
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Game Of Genes In Alzheimer’s
One of the greatest biological risk factors for Alzheimers comes from a gene called APOE4, which has been liked to an increase in risk in both men and women. But having this gene could be even more dire for women a 2014 study found that female participants had an even;greater risk;of developing the disease than men with the gene.
Women also see hormone fluctuations during menopause that may interact with the gene and could help explain why their brains are more susceptible to Alzheimers. Around age 40 or 50, estrogen, progesterone and testosterone levels drop in women. Often times these changes cause women to experience hot flashes or bouts of depression, but the effects of change could have a lingering impact on the brain, too.
Researchers have looked into whether hormone therapy could be a solution to preventing Alzheimers in post-menopausal women since the 1990s. A 1996;study;published in JAMA tested hormone replacement therapy in women, finding that estrogen supplements led to a decrease in Alzheimers development when administered before menopause.
But despite the fact that the analysis was published in a major medical journal, little follow-up research was conducted into the effects of hormones over the next decade.
Thats a historic phenomenon, she says. If women are more likely to manifest the risk factor, then studying women makes a lot of sense, doesnt it?
What To Look For:
Progression of Symptoms:;A study found that once the initial symptoms of dementia appear in men and women, they tend to progress at a faster rate in women than men. The reasoning for this correlation is not well understood but is suspected to be genetic or environmental in origin.
Memory:;Women were seen to experience memory impairment earlier in the course of dementia than men.
Depression:;Men with symptoms of depression were found to have a significantly higher risk of developing dementia, particularly Alzheimers disease, compared to women with symptoms of depression.
Verbal skills:;Men were seen to retain verbal fluency longer than women. This is the ability to correctly perform naming tasks, and the ability to successfully perform delayed recall of words.
Aggression: Men are more likely to be aggressive and act out. They may become agitated and yell or curse at their caregivers.
Wandering: Men are more likely to exhibit wandering tendencies.
Inappropriate Sexual Behavior: Some men may act in sexually inappropriate ways.
Researchers at the University of Hertfordshire in the UK believe that the drop in the level of the hormone estrogen after menopause may affect how the disease develops in women. In the UK, women make up two-thirds of the 850,000 individuals living with dementia.
He added, It is therefore fundamental that we continue to identify the role of sex differences to enable more accurate diagnoses and open up doors for new treatments to emerge.
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Are Men Or Women More Likely To Get Alzheimers
More Than Half of All People with Alzheimers Are Women There are currently about 5 million people living with Alzheimers disease in the United States, Thats partly because women on average live longer than men, even after discounting their longer lifeThe first was why it shows up in young people and second why women were more at risk than men, compared with a 1 in 11 chance for men.You put those two numbers together and you see a lot more women with Alzheimers than men because they are surviving into the older age where they can get the disease, there appears to be a higher risk for Alzheimers disease in women compared to men, Scientists also know that a gene calledThe Associated Press Jul 17
Research Shows How Men’s Women’s Brains May Experience It Differently
by Hallie Levine, AARP, July 16, 2019| 0
En español | Almost two-thirds of Americans living with Alzheimer’s disease are women, and women in their 60s are twice as likely to develop Alzheimer’s as they are breast cancer. They’re also more likely than men to develop the brain disease, even after factoring in women’s typically longer lifespans. New research presented today at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference 2019 suggests that sex-specific genes and crucial differences in the brain may help explain why women appear to be more at risk for this devastating disorder.
“These new studies make clear that there are biological and perhaps environmental factors that account for sex differences, says Gary Small, M.D., Parlow-Solomon Professor on Aging at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. Just like we take gender into account when determining risk for other health conditions, like depression or heart disease, we need to be aware of its impact on Alzheimer’s, as well.”
Four studies presented today make clear that the brains of women are structured differently than men, and that that in turn may impact risk of Alzheimer’s.
But this advantage disappears once more severe amyloid plaque develops, and that’s when glucose metabolism in women just tanks, she adds. Once they can’t compensate any longer, their memory starts rapidly declining.”
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Risk Factors Beyond Longevity
Until now, the gap had been largely attributed to the longevity of women, since age is the number one risk factor for Alzheimers.;Roberta Diaz Brinton,;a University of Southern California professor who studies gender differences said, It is true that age is the greatest risk factor for developing Alzheimers disease. But she went on to say, on average, women live four or five years longer than men and we know that Alzheimers is a disease that starts 20 years before the diagnosis.
Thus far, genetic studies have;offered a;startling account for the difference. Researchers from Stanford University studied over 8,000 people looking for a form of the gene ApoE-4, a gene that increases the risk of Alzheimers. They found that women who carry a copy of that particular gene variant were twice as likely to eventually develop Alzheimers as women without the gene. Men who had the gene were only at a slightly increased risk than men who did not have the gene. While it is not clear why the gene poses such a drastic increase in risk, Brinton believes it may be how the gene interacts with estrogen.;
Another study suggests that it may be related to heart health. A study from;Framingham, Massachusetts suggests that because men are more likely to die from heart disease in middle age, those men who live past 65 may have healthier hearts which may protect the brain from Alzheimers.;These two diseases share many risk factors including high cholesterol, diabetes, and obesity.
Hormone Replacement Therapy And Dementia
Oestrogen is used in hormone replacement therapy . Some women going through menopause choose this to help relieve some of the symptoms, such as hot flushes and anxiety.
HRT fell out of favour when it was decided that the risks of heart and breast cancers outweigh any potential benefits on thinking and memory. Researchers are currently hard at work to develop better, more naturally-acting HRT. They are investigating whether starting HRT earlier could reduce dementia risk.
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Women Have Historically Received Less Education Than Men
Some studies have shown that that those with less education have an increased chance of developing Alzheimer’s disease compared to those who have more education and further their careers throughout middle or later life. We know that activities that exercise our brains can decrease the chances or delay the onset of dementia. In the past, women were less educated than men and were more likely to take on homemaker roles rather than enter into careers, which could explain the higher risk for dementia. However, the education and career gap between men and women has been closing in the past few decades, so this does not explain the reason why more women are developing dementia these days.
Women More Likely Than Men To Develop Alzheimers
En español | Almost two-thirds of Americans living with Alzheimers disease are women, The incidence of the disease is higher in women than in men, Finally, Longevity Is One Reason Women Are Affected MoreSome previous studies suggest that women at any age are more likely than men to develop Alzheimers, women are much more likely to be caregivers to people with Alzheimers: Two-thirds of dementia caregivers are female, there must be a specific pathogenic mechanism to explain the higher incidence of AD cases in women.Cited by: 354The number of women with Alzheimers far exceeds that of men with the condition, The important thing to find is that one symptom which pinpoints the disease.The number of women with Alzheimers far exceeds that of men with the condition, Some of these differences may be explained by the fact that women live longer, Cheryl Kanetsky : I think one of the things that is surprising to people when they hear this is when a women in her 60s is twice as likely in her lifetime to develop
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Looking To Mice For Insights
To assess the potential role of X chromosomes in Alzheimers disease, the authors of the new study conducted a series of experiments in a mouse model of the disease.
They found that male mice with Alzheimers disease demonstrated greater cognitive impairments and died more quickly than female mice.
When they genetically engineered male mice with Alzheimers disease to have two X chromosomes, those mice performed better on cognitive tests and lived longer than male mice with one X chromosome.
Conversely, female mice that were engineered to have only one X chromosome showed more cognitive impairment and died more quickly than those with two X chromosomes.
The authors show that the addition of an X leads to brain resilience, Mielke explained. Notably, it is not that the Y gene is necessarily detrimental, just that having two X chromosomes, indicative of females, offers more brain protection.
Facts About Women And Dementia
- More women are affected by dementia than men. Worldwide, women with dementia outnumber men 2 to 1.
- Brain scans tell us that the rate at which brain cells are dying in the brain is faster in women than in men.
- Women are more likely to live longer than men. However, although risk increases with age, dementia is caused by diseases of the brain not age alone.
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Is Alzheimers More Common In Men Or Women
By Steve Hanson 9 am on February 10, 2020
Alzheimers can affect adults in all age ranges. However, statistically, its more likely to affect older adults, especially women. In fact, women have a 1 in 5 chance of developing this common form of dementia. Men, on the other hand, have a 1 in 11 chance of being affected by Alzheimers. Today, were going to look at why women are more likely to get Alzheimers disease than men.
Some Key Warning Signs That Point To An Alzheimers Diagnosis Include:
Are Males Or Females More Likely To Get Alzheimers
according to the Alzheimers Society, Theyre also more likely than men to develop the brain disease, Thus, Almost 65 percent3.2 millionare women, Scientists have long thought the main reason why more women than men get the illness is because women tend to live longer than men, and age is aIts often reported that women are more likely to be affected by Alzheimers disease than men since some 65 percent of Americans with Alzheimers are female,A new study shows women are more likely than men to develop Alzheimers disease.
Which Gender Gets Alzheimers More Often
By Zareena Khan 9 am on February 12, 2020
Women have a higher risk of developing Alzheimers, a progressive disorder that causes memory impairment and leads to poor reasoning. As a result, they may have difficulty carrying out daily tasks and rely on family caregivers for assistance. Take a look at some of the reasons women are more likely to develop Alzheimers and what can be done to prevent and treat the disease.
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Women Have Twice The Risk Of Developing Depression Compared To Men
Depression is linked to higher Alzheimer’s risk and women are twice as likely to have depression than men. While the link between depression and Alzheimer’s isn’t completely understood, researchers can trace depression to shrinking of the hippocampus, which is the part of the brain responsible for memory function. The hippocampus is important for memory formation in women, but was not found to be important in men.
Are Females At A Higher Risk Of Alzheimers Disease
Back when the Alzheimers research field was in its infancy, researchers were working to understand the scope of the diseases consequences for public health. Prevalence studies took Alzheimers censuses, which showed a higher number of females living with Alzheimers disease than males, igniting the widespread idea that females are at higher risk. Other researchers thought that more females may be affected because they tend to live longer than males, and the risk of disease increases with age. The complex problem sparked curiosity among researchers, leading to efforts to crack what is now an age-old question: how does biological sex affect dementia risk?
Haydeh Payami, PhD, Professor of Neurology and Genetics at the University of Alabama, prior research scientist at Oregon and Health Sciences Universitys Alzheimers Disease Center, and collaborator with the UW ADRC, waded into this scientific debate in 1996 with a study examining two familial Alzheimers disease kindreds. She found that the females in these families were more likely to develop Alzheimers with age, and that they tended to develop the disease at a younger age than the males.
The best data today shows that if you have a seventy-year-old man and a seventy-year old woman, their risk of Alzheimers disease does not seem to be different. Thats a change from what we thought 30 years ago.;
Ellen Wijsman, PhD
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