How dementia affects men and women differently

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Dementia is a serious brain condition that makes it hard for people to remember things, use language properly, and handle their feelings.

There are different kinds of dementia, and one of them, called dementia with Lewy bodies (DLB), is quite common.

Recently, scientists have been curious about whether being a man or a woman affects how DLB works. This interest led to two new studies by researchers at Karolinska Institutet, focusing on how men and women experience DLB differently.

Traditionally, all dementia patients were treated in the same way. But now, doctors realize that everyone is different.

They’re starting to treat patients based on their specific traits, like whether they’re a man or a woman, how old they are, their way of life, or their past health history.

This personalized approach is very important for diseases like DLB, where symptoms can vary a lot from one person to another.

For a long time, experts noticed that more men have DLB than women. But they didn’t really know why. New research is shedding light on this. It turns out that men and women with DLB often have different symptoms.

Men are more likely to have problems with their sleep and movement, while women are more prone to seeing things that aren’t there.

In December 2023, Dr. Javier Oltra and his team made a big step forward in understanding DLB.

They worked with other scientists from places like the University of Barcelona, the European DLB consortium, and the Mayo Clinic in the U.S. This was possible thanks to a collaboration between the Mayo Clinic and Karolinska Institutet.

Their study looked at how being a man or a woman affects the loss of brain matter in people with DLB. They published their findings in the journal Alzheimer’s and Dementia.

To do this, they looked at the biggest collection of DLB brain images in the world, which included information from 442 patients from 14 different places in Europe and the U.S.

The team used two methods to figure out how much brain matter was lost. The first method was simple: a medical expert looked at brain images and decided if there was a big loss of brain matter.

This method is what doctors usually use today. The second method was more advanced and looked at smaller areas of the brain.

They found that men with DLB tend to lose more brain matter than women, especially in the front part of the brain (called the frontal lobe).

This difference was more noticeable in younger patients and became less obvious as people got older. By the age of 75, the differences between men and women with DLB almost disappeared.

The study also showed that for men, losing brain matter in certain areas was linked to having trouble thinking and seeing things that weren’t there.

These findings are really important. They show that DLB affects men and women differently, especially when it comes to losing brain matter.

This could help doctors treat patients more effectively by considering their sex, age, and specific symptoms. It’s a big step in understanding DLB and could lead to better care for everyone who has this kind of dementia.

If you care about brain health ,please read studies about Vitamin B9 deficiency linked to higher dementia risk, and cranberries could help boost memory.

For more information about brain health, please see recent studies about heartburn drugs that could increase risk of dementia, and results showing this MIND diet may protect your cognitive function, prevent dementia.

The research findings can be found in Alzheimer’s & Dementia.

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