Health Fact Women suffer faster mental decline than men

United States scientists found that women suffering from mild cognitive impairment, which is a forerunner to dementia, appear to go downhill at twice the rate as men.

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A new study has shown that women could be prone to quicker mental decline, placing them at greater risk of dementia than men.

United States scientists found that women suffering from mild cognitive impairment, which is a forerunner to dementia, appear to go downhill at twice the rate as men.

They also discovered that women are far more susceptible to developing dementia in the first place.

According to figures presented at the Alzheimer’s Association’s Annual Conference in Washington, around two thirds of older people living with Alzheimer’s disease are women.

At the age of 65 women have a one in six chance of developing Alzheimer’s disease compared with a 1 in 11 chance for men.

"There is an urgent need to understand if differences in brain structure, disease progression, and biological characterises contribute to higher prevalence and rates of cognitive decline in women" said Dr Heather Snyder, the Director of Medical and Scientific Operations at the Alzheimer’s Association.

Katherine Lin, of Duke Medical School also said,

“Women with mild memory problems deteroriate at much faster rates than men in both cognitive and functional abilities. These results point to the possibility of as yet undiscovered gender-specific or environmental risk facts that influence the speed of the decline.”

The study authors and dementia charities said that urgent research needed to take place to find out why women were at greater risk.

Meanwhile, the first drug that can slow down the progression of Alzheimer’s disease if caught early is expected to be unveiled soon.

Trials have been ongoing into a new treatment called Solanezumab which appears to stop the degenerative disease in its tracks.

The results will be announced by drugs giant Eli Lilly on but if positive it will be the first drug proven to be effective for treating dementia.

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