Worldwide, women with dementia outnumber men two to one, but biomedical research is only now beginning to investigate why this is the case.
At this year’s Alzheimer’s Association International Conference, held in Los Angeles, researchers reported that women are more likely to be affected by specific genetic mutations that can cause dementia.
The fact that women and men may experience different kinds of genetic risk adds weight to the idea that medicine needs to account for these differences.
At the same conference, the largest focusing on dementia, we also learned that tau – a protein that builds up in the brains of people with some forms of dementia – spreads more rapidly through women’s brains than men’s.
Fiona Carragher, Chief Policy and Research Officer at the Society, says,
‘The facts speak for themselves – women living with dementia outnumber men two to one across the world. Dementia also affects women differently, with symptoms like delusions, depression and reclusiveness experienced more widely in women than men.'
‘Women’s brain health is an under-studied topic, and, historically, the lion’s share of dementia research has focused on men. Our researchers are hard at work to rectify this imbalance, with new information and greater focus on this area, potentially leading to the development of sex-specific drugs and risk-reduction strategies.’