Reason why Alzheimer’s disease is more common in women than men


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Recent research, published in the journal JAMA Neurology found that why women are more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease than men. This research was conducted at Massachusetts General Hospital.

A research of 300 aged individuals who experienced PET (positron emission tomography) scans presented that women are more likely to develop toxic proteins. These proteins are known to cause the disease.

As reported in the journal, the scans exposed that men had fewer deposits of the disease-causing tau and beta-amyloid in their brains as compared to women.

The proteins are in all grey matter, but they can be aggregated in large amounts forming tangles or clumps. This aggregation can damage neurons and lead to loss of memory and confusion seen in Alzheimer’s.

Researchers found that this increasing evidence proposes that women may be at greater risk of certain physiological changes linked to Alzheimer’s disease.

The research could also help to describe why about two-thirds of dementia patients are female, a fact which previously was attributed to women living longer than men and having more time to develop the state. But, many researchers also suspected the presence of other mechanisms that may be donating to the gender gap in the prevalence of Alzheimer’s.

Observations of the research

This study specifically observed the tau deposits present in the brains of patients having an average of 74 years. These all patients were cognitively healthy.

Researchers found that women presented more tau in a brain region as compared to men. This was associated with persons having greater amounts of plaque deposits of the beta-amyloid peptide, which is another marker of Alzheimer’s.

Previously, researchers believed that there were no noteworthy differences in the brain levels of these protein “biomarkers” between women and men. But possible gender-specific differences involved in disease pathology is becoming an ever more important focus in research of Alzheimer’s.

Researchers say that the current outcomes support other studies as well in detecting potential reasons for the differences in Alzheimer’s disease risk between men and women.

Preceding research has exposed that women hereditarily prone to Alzheimer’s have higher tau levels in their cerebrospinal fluid than predisposed men. And the current study is the first to detect a related pattern in clinically healthy people.

Future prospect of the results 

These results also lend support to the growing literature which reveals a biological underpinning for sex differences in the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, two-thirds of individuals in the U.S. who develop Alzheimer’s disease are women.

This study may help develop a treatment for Alzheimer’s disease in the future. We may require to target particular disease-modifying treatments at early stages of the disease for the reduction of the risk of memory decline.

 

 


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Areeba Hussain
The author is a Medical Microbiologist and healthcare writer. She is a post-graduate of Medical Microbiology and Immunology. She covers all content on health and wellness including weight loss, nutrition, and general health.

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