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Alzheimer’s Disease Is Harsher On Women: Study

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women's experience with Alzheimer's disease may be harsher than men's Hemera/Thinkstock

Statistics have shown us that women are more prone to developing dementia and in particular Alzheimer’s disease as they age, than men.

Now there is evidence that those that do suffer from the disease fare far worse than men for the same stages of the disease, at the same age bracket and with similar education and other skills. (1)

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of dementia suffered by people in old age.

According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders, “Dementia is a word for a group of symptoms caused by disorders that affect the brain. It is not a specific disease. People with dementia may not be able to think well enough to do normal activities, such as getting dressed or eating. They may lose their ability to solve problems or control their emotions. Their personalities may change. They may become agitated or see things that are not there.” (2)

In the recent study that was conducted at University of Hertfordshire researchers found that men who were afflicted with the condition outperformed women counterparts.

The difference in performance was not only significant but also consistent for repeat trials.

The tests on both men and women were performed on the five cognitive areas, namely orientation, immediate recall, attention and calculation, delayed recall and language.

What shocked the scientists was that while healthy women have a distinct verbal skill (language dimension) advantage over men, the situation seemed quite the reverse for women who suffered from Alzheimer’s disease.

The women found themselves significantly disadvantaged as compared to men in verbal abilities in the latter group.

Secondary data was used for the study. Neurocognitive data was taken from 15 published articles and analysis found a male lead in the language and visuospatial skills.

There were also considerable differences in recall and episodic (or memories associated with past, personal events) and semantic memories (memory associated with impersonal and learned facts) with better results leaning towards men.

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Very interesting findings. Alzheimer's is such a terrible disease not only for what it does to the patient but to loved ones.

Marielaina Perrone DDS
Henderson Family Dentist

October 17, 2012 - 6:46pm
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