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Women decline faster than men

24 August 2012

Women decline faster than men

Results have shown that men’s brains are better at coping with Alzheimer’s than women, even when both are at the same stage of the disease.

Usually, healthy women outperform men in tests on verbal ability and memory, but studies have shown that men with Alzheimer’s consistently outperform women who also live with the condition. The results showed that men seem to have an advantage in coping with the effects when measured against women at the same stage in the disease.

15 studies from the University of Hertfordshire were reviewed to gain these results which show the advantage for the first time. The studies involved 828 men and 1,238 women and who were given tests across 5 cognitive areas which clearly showed that men significantly performed better than the women. Examples of areas tested included recall of past events and remembering factual information.

Professor Keith Laws, who published the analysis in the Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology said, “Unlike mental decline associated with normal aging, something about Alzheimer’s specifically disadvantages women. There could be a hormonal explanation because women lose oestrogen supplies after the menopause which play a key role in the brain. Men’s cognitive reserve appears to compensate for the disease process. Other research using scans shows men can have brains that are badly damaged yet their skills are not as impaired as they should be. For whatever reason, and it’s not about greater intellect, men are better able to stave off the effects for longer.”