Risk factor

New research says Alzheimer’s deteriorates twice as fast in women

Women with memory problems which might signal early Alzheimer’s will descend into dementia twice as fast as men, said researchers on Tuesday at the annual Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in Washington, D.C. This could help explain why women are so much more vulnerable to the disease than men — a full two-thirds of Americans suffering from Alzheimer’s are women. A woman in her sixties is twice as likely to develop Alzheimer’s as she is to get breast cancer, the Alzheimer’s Association says, which might have something to do with the biology of the brain. “We haven’t done enough work parsing out some of the gender differences,” said Kristine Yaffe of the University of California San Francisco. Women are more likely to have depression, a risk factor for Alzheimer’s, and women are more vulnerable to stress, another risk factor. “Probably what this is going to be about is a complicated interaction between genetics, hormones and the way the brain develops,” Yaffe said. Several studies are trying to figure out what might be going on exactly, looking at the influence of factors like anesthesia and surgery, the presence of a brain-clogging protein called amyloid and biological differences between the genders such as hormones and metabolism.

Read the full story at NBC News.

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