Alzheimer’s disease develops faster in women’s brains

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Scientists from Lund University in Sweden found Alzheimer’s disease seems to progress faster in women than in men. The protein tau accumulates at a higher rate in women.

Over 30 million people suffer from Alzheimer’s disease worldwide, making it the most common form of dementia.

Tau and beta-amyloid are two proteins known to aggregate and accumulate in the brain in patients with Alzheimer’s.

The first protein to aggregate in Alzheimer’s is beta-amyloid. Men and women are equally affected by the first disease stages, and the analysis did not show any differences in the accumulation of beta-amyloid.

Memory dysfunction arises later when tau starts to accumulate.

More women than men are affected by memory problems due to Alzheimer’s, and it was for tau that the researchers found a higher rate of accumulation in women.

In the study, the team found tau accumulation rates vary greatly between individuals of the same sex.

In the temporal lobe, which is affected by Alzheimer’s disease, they found a 75% higher accumulation rate in women as a group compared to men.

The accumulation of tau is faster in patients who already have a pathological accumulation of beta-amyloid and are in the early phase of the disease.

The discovery that the accumulation rate of tau is higher in women remained even after adjusting for age and the levels of tau they had at the beginning.

Together with data from three similar cohorts in the USA, the project contains 209 women and 210 men.

This study strongly indicates that the faster spread of tau makes women more prone to develop dementia because of Alzheimer’s pathology compared to men.

The study did not investigate the reasons for the higher rate of tau accumulation in women.

The team says the next step would be to examine why this accumulation is faster in women.

If you care about Alzheimer’s disease, please read studies about the likely cause of Alzheimer’s disease, and new non-drug treatment that may help prevent Alzheimer’s effectively.

For more information about brain health, please see recent studies about the critical time window to stop Alzheimer’s disease and results showing this new light treatment may slow down Alzheimer’s disease.

The research was published in Brain and conducted by Ruben Smith et al.

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