Women with memory problems experience faster rates of cognitive decline than men, according to research presented today at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in Washington. Researchers also report that women are more susceptible to developing dementia after surgery.
In the first study, women with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) showed a rate of cognitive decline two times faster than men with MCI. The study followed 398 people with MCI (141 women and 257 men).
The second study found that women were at higher risk for long-term cognitive and functional problems following surgery with general anaesthesia. The study involved a total of 527 participants, of with 182 people underwent a total of 331 procedures under general anaesthesia. It found that women were at a higher risk of post-operative brain dysfunction than men.
Dr Doug Brown, Director of Research at Alzheimer’s Society, said:
“Considerably more women develop dementia in the Western world than men and this isn’t just because they live longer.
“This new research shows that women with memory problems experience faster rates of cognitive decline than men and are also more susceptible to developing dementia after surgery. Researchers are in the dark as to why this is – we still have a long way to go to unravel all the complex causes of dementia.
“Future research to understand why these gender differences exist could help us develop and tailor treatments for men and women with the condition.”