Nearly two-thirds of American patients with Alzheimer’s disease are women. This statistic intrigues scientists who question the assumption that it is just because women have longer life expectancies than men. Maria Carillo, head of the American Alzheimer’s Association has just said that her association intends to fund various studies on the increased risk of women facing Alzheimer’s. According to Maria Carillo, a 65-year-old woman has a 1 in 6 chance of being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, while for men it drops to a 1 in 11 chance. Similarly, once the disease is declared, women decline faster than men.
Research will therefore focus on genetics. Stanford University researchers analyzed the records of more than 8,000 patients who carried a gene called ApoE-4, known to increase the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Women with this gene variant were twice as likely to eventually develop Alzheimer’s disease as women without the gene, while men’s risk was only slightly increased, the researchers reported.
Other research, underlined Maria carillo, will focus on the role of hormones and their protective effect on the brain: “40 years ago, we studied cardiovascular diseases in men, without worrying about how cardiac risks could differ in women. It would be unfortunate to make the same mistake today with Alzheimer’s disease.”
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