Scientists from Florida Atlantic University found that when it comes to preventing Alzheimer’s, women and men are quite different.
The research is published in the Journal of Prevention of Alzheimer’s Disease and was conducted by Richard S. Isaacson et al.
After increasing age, the most significant risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease (AD) is sex—two-thirds of patients with AD are females.
In fact, even when accounting for gender-dependent mortality rates, age at death, and differences in lifespan, women still have twice the risk of incidence.
In the study, 80 people were categorized by baseline diagnoses: normal cognition, subjective cognitive decline, and preclinical AD participants were classified as “Prevention.”
Mild cognitive impairment due to AD and mild AD were classified as “Early Treatment.”
The team showed that risk reduction care in an Alzheimer’s Prevention Clinic setting led to improvements in cognition in both women and men.
However, in the Prevention group, women demonstrated greater improvements than men.
Women in the Early Treatment group also demonstrated greater improvements in midlife vascular risk factors such as body mass index, blood pressure, cholesterol and smoking status.
The team says care in an Alzheimer’s Prevention Clinic setting is equally effective at improving cognitive function in both women and men.
But personally-tailored interventions led to greater improvements in women compared to men across Alzheimer’s and cardiovascular disease risk scales, as well blood biomarkers of risk such as blood sugar, LDL cholesterol, and the diabetes test HbA1C.
These findings are important because women are disproportionately affected by Alzheimer’s disease and population-attributable risk models suggest that managing risk factors can prevent up to one-third of dementia cases.
The study also highlights the need for larger studies focusing on sex differences in AD-related cognitive trajectories, as the existing body of knowledge lacks conclusive evidence on this issue.
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