Nav: Home

Brain changes in Alzheimer's disease are more likely to present as dementia in women than in men

July 22, 2005

Researchers from the Rush Alzheimer's Disease Center found that plaques and tangles in the brain, the changes seen in people with Alzheimer's disease (AD), are more likely to be expressed as dementia in women than in men.

In the June 2005 issue of Archives of General Psychiatry, "Sex Differences in the Clinical Manifestations of Alzheimer Disease Pathology," principal investigator Lisa L. Barnes, PhD, sought to determine whether the relation between levels of AD pathology and clinical symptoms of AD differed in men and women. Alzheimer's disease is the leading cause of dementia in older people, she noted. The researchers studied older Catholic nuns, priests, and brothers in the Religious Orders Study, a longitudinal clinicopathologic study of aging and AD. The study involves annual clinical evaluations and brain donation at death. The analyses were conducted on 64 men and 77 women. Women were slightly older at death than men; four cortical regions of the brain were counted, and a global measure of AD was derived.

Barnes found women had more global AD pathology than did men due primarily to more neurofibrillary tangles. "On a global measure of AD pathology that ranged from 0 to three, each additional unit of pathology increased the odds of clinical AD nearly three-fold in men compared with more than 20-fold in women. The findings suggest that AD pathology is more likely to be expressed clinically as dementia in women than in men. Our results suggest that the clinical manifestation of AD is stronger in women than in men."

Barnes says that "Understanding why the association between AD pathology and dementia differs in men and women could yield important clues about the pathophysiology of AD or eventually lead to sex-specific preventive or therapeutic strategies.

Another possibility is that women have a relative lack of some protective factor, such as the estrogen deficiency of postmenopausal women, which could increase their vulnerability to AD pathology."

Barnes suggests more research is needed to explore these and other possibilities.
-end-
This research was supported by grants from the National Institute on Aging.

Acknowledgment: The hundreds of nuns, priests, and brothers from the Religious Orders Study.

Rush University Medical Center

Related Dementia Articles:

Flies the key to studying the causes of dementia
A research team from the University of Plymouth, University of Southampton and the Alexander Fleming Biomedical Sciences Research Center, Vari, Greece, have studied two structurally-similar proteins in the adult brain and have found that they play distinct roles in the development of dementia.
Stroke prevention may also reduce dementia
Ontario's stroke prevention strategy appears to have had an unexpected, beneficial side effect: a reduction also in the incidence of dementia among older seniors.
Dementia: The right to rehabilitation
Rehabilitation is important for people with dementia as it is for people with physical disabilities, according to a leading dementia expert.
One in 4 elderly Australian women have dementia
At least a quarter of Australian women over 70 will develop dementia according to University of Queensland researchers.
Rural dementia -- we need to talk
Research carried out by Plymouth University into the experience of dementia in farming and farming families, and its impact on their businesses and home lives, has identified four areas of concern which need to be addressed if dementia in the countryside is to be managed.
Women with dementia receive less medical attention
Women with dementia have fewer visits to the GP, receive less health monitoring and take more potentially harmful medication than men with dementia, new UCL research reveals.
Dementia on the downslide, especially among people with more education
In a hopeful sign for the health of the nation's brains, the percentage of American seniors with dementia is dropping, a new study finds.
New study suggests rethink of dementia causes
University of Adelaide researchers have developed a new theory for the causes of dementia and other neurodegenerative diseases, involving an out-of-control immune system.
Bleeding stroke associated with onset of dementia
Bleeding within the brain, or intracerebral hemorrhage, was associated with a high risk of developing dementia post stroke, according to research presented at the American Stroke Association's International Stroke Conference 2016.
Dementia: New insights into causes of loss of orientation
The University of Exeter Medical School led two studies, each of which moves us a step closer to understanding the onset of dementia, and potentially to paving the way for future therapies.

Related Dementia Reading:

The 36-Hour Day: A Family Guide to Caring for People Who Have Alzheimer Disease, Related Dementias, and Memory Loss
by Nancy L. Mace (Author), Peter V. Rabins (Author)

The 36-Hour Day, sixth edition: The 36-Hour Day: A Family Guide to Caring for People Who Have Alzheimer Disease, Other Dementias, and Memory Loss (A Johns Hopkins Press Health Book)
by Nancy L. Mace (Author), Peter V. Rabins (Author)

Loving Someone Who Has Dementia: How to Find Hope while Coping with Stress and Grief
by Pauline Boss (Author)

Finding Grace in the Face of Dementia: "Experiencing Dementia--Honoring God"
by John, MD Dunlop (Author)

The Dementia Handbook: How to Provide Dementia Care at Home
by Judy Cornish (Author)

Dementia: Dementia Types, Diagnosis, Symptoms, Treatment, Causes, Neurocognitive Disorders, Prognosis, Research, History, Myths, and More! Facts & Information
by Frederick Earlstein (Author)

Memory Loss, Alzheimer's Disease, and Dementia: A Practical Guide for Clinicians
by Andrew E. Budson MD (Author), Paul R. Solomon PhD (Author)

Alzheimer's and Dementia For Dummies
by Consumer Dummies (Author)

When Reasoning No Longer Works: A Practical Guide for Caregivers Dealing with Dementia & Alzheimer's Care
by Angel Smits (Author)

Memory's Last Breath: Field Notes on My Dementia
by Gerda Saunders (Author)

Best Science Podcasts 2018

We have hand picked the best science podcasts for 2018. Sit back and enjoy new science podcasts updated daily from your favorite science news services and scientists.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

The Story Behind The Numbers
Is life today better than ever before? Does the data bear that out? This hour, TED speakers explore the stories we tell with numbers — and whether those stories portray the full picture. Guests include psychologist Steven Pinker, economists Tyler Cowen and Michael Green, journalist Hanna Rosin, and environmental activist Paul Gilding.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#486 Volcanoes
This week we're talking volcanoes. Because there are few things that fascinate us more than the amazing, unstoppable power of an erupting volcano. First, Jessica Johnson takes us through the latest activity from the Kilauea volcano in Hawaii to help us understand what's happening with this headline-grabbing volcano. And Janine Krippner joins us to highlight some of the lesser-known volcanoes that can be found in the USA, the different kinds of eruptions we might one day see at them, and how damaging they have the potential to be. Related links: Kilauea status report at USGS A beginner's guide to Hawaii's otherworldly...