Jul 21, 2015

Women More Likely to Suffer from Alzheimer's, Deteriorate Faster, Decline After Surgery

Women with memory problems worsen twice as fast as men at the same stage of memory impairment. 

Women also decline faster after surgery and receiving general anesthesia than men.

Women More Likely to Suffer from Alzheimer's | Alzheimer's Reading Room
  • Almost two-thirds of American seniors living with Alzheimer’s disease are women.
  • Among those aged 71 and older, 16 percent of women have Alzheimer’s and other dementias, compared with 11 percent of men.
  • At age 65, women without Alzheimer’s have more than a one in six chance of developing Alzheimer’s during the remainder of their lives, compared with a one in 11 chance for men.
  • Women in their 60s are about twice as likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease over the rest of their lives as they are to develop breast cancer.

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"Our findings suggest that men and women at risk for Alzheimer’s may be having two very different experiences. 
Our analyses show that women with mild memory impairments deteriorate at much faster rates than men in both cognitive and functional abilities. These results point to the possibility of as yet undiscovered gender-specific genetic or environmental risk factors that influence the speed of decline. Uncovering those factors should be a high priority for future research."
- Katherine Amy Lin, Wrenn Clinical Research Scholar in Alzheimer’s disease, Duke University Medical Center
Women Decline Faster than Men After Surgery and receiving General Anesthesia
  • Men exposed to general anesthesia during surgery declined in measures of cognition, functional status, and brain volumes statistically significantly faster than men who did not have surgery.
  • Women exposed to general anesthesia during surgery also declined on those measures, and at a significantly faster rate than men. That difference was even more pronounced for women who underwent multiple surgeries with general anesthesia.
This is one of the first studies to suggest that among older adults, women are at a higher risk for postoperative brain dysfunction than men.  
Our research clearly shows an association between surgery, general anesthesia and cognitive decline in older adults. More studies are needed to confirm this observation and to identify ways to minimize the effects of surgery and general anesthesia on older adults. Future research should focus on whether certain people are more susceptible to postoperative cognitive decline by virtue of sex or genetic risk factors.- Katie Schenning, MD, MPH and colleagues from the Oregon Health & Science University
Primary Sources of information - PRNewswire and Wall Street Journal

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