Women with mild cognitive impairment decline twice as fast as men with the same condition, according to new research presented at this week's Alzheimer's Association International Conference (AAIC). The research also reported that women decline faster than men in cognition, function and brain size after surgery and general anesthesia.
Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is a small but noticeable change in cognitive abilities, such as memory and thinking skills. Usually the changes aren't enough to interfere with daily life, but a person with MCI is at an increased risk of developing Alzheimer's or another dementia -- especially women.
The Alzheimer's Association reports that almost two-thirds of Americans living with Alzheimer's are women and at age 65, women without Alzheimer's have a more than 1 percent chance of developing the disease in the rest of their lives.
"Women are disproportionately affected by Alzheimer’s, and there is an urgent need to understand if differences in brain structure, disease progression, and biological characteristics contribute to higher prevalence and rates of cognitive decline," Maria Carrillo, PhD, Alzheimer’s Association Chief Scientific Officer, said in an AAIC press release. "To intervene and help reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s, it’s critical to understand the reasons for these differences. Results presented at AAIC 2015 begin to shed light on this issue, but much more research is needed."