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Why Women Are Twice As Likely To Get Alzheimer’s As Men

Posted Oct 16 2012 4:52pm
Women as a species are often sadly neglected in many areas of research as traditionally the focus – and funding – has tended to focus on men. Heart disease is one example where both sexes are affected but more research has gone on male heart conditions and identifying factors and symptoms that we now know are more related to men than women.  Now it seems we can add Alzheimers to the list.  Women in fact are twice as likely to be affected but it is male brains that have had the most study. What causes this issue, is it related to menopause ?

You may have already suspected it, but male and female brains really are different so by not studying both sexes an important element in female dementia has been neglected up to now. a fundamentally different make-up.

‘We need much better data about gender differences,’ says Glenda Gillies, who is Professor of neuroendocrine pharmacology at Imperial College London one of the very few who has made a study of researching the effect of both hormones and drugs on the female brain.

The Role Of Hormones
Our hormonal makeup is a key element in our much greater risk of Alzheimers and ironically it is the fact that women  traditionally live longer than men that has increased our risk of the disease to that any one time significantly more women will have the disease than men.

Those diagnosed with the disease show clumps of damaged proteins (plaques and tangles) in their brains but they appear in different places in men and women.  The  hypothalamus is where these clumps are found in 90 per cent of men with Alzheimer’s, but in women it is only 10 per cent.  That might sound like a good thing but women are affected more severely by symptoms than men are according to researchers at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago.

So women don’t seem to deal as well as men with their symptoms, and nor it seems does the progress of the disease either.  Researchers from the University of Hertfordshire have reported that the condition of women also seems to deteriorate faster than men who even though they apparently at the same stage of the disease, seem to be able to cope better with the disease.

You also need to look at your family history as having a mother with Alzheimers, doubles your own risk when compared with having a father who had it... read more
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