Several studies show that dementia affects men, women differently


Many things are different between men and women, turns out how we are affected by dementia is one of them.

     According to Steven Reinberg, a reporter for HealthDay, Alzheimer’s, a type of dementia, strikes later in women than it does men. However, this does not mean it’s worse for men than women. In women, dementia tends to deteriorate their memory a lot faster than it does in men.

     The science behind this relies on the fact that women appear to have more cognitive reserve than men, therefore they don’t get dementia until later on. However, once the reserve is gone, mental decline speeds up fast.

     Jacquelyn Williams, health teacher, says that although she didn’t learn about dementia in college or school too much, she has learned about it since she has a family member who experienced dementia. She also agrees with the fact that dementia is different in men and women, “I think that dementia from person to person can be vastly different.”

     “Women appear to have faster cognitive decline. And these sex differences in cognitive decline might be due to differences in sex hormones, structural brain development, genetic, psychosocial factors, lifestyle factors, functional connectivity, and brain pathology,” researcher Dr. Deborah Levine says. Levine is an associate professor of medicine at the University of Michigan Medical School.

     Overall, more women are affected by dementia than men are. The ratio from men to women worldwide is 2:1. According to studies done by the Alzheimer’s Society, brain scans they’ve done tell us that the rate at which brain cells are dying in the brain is faster in women than in men. 

     In past studies on animals used to understand the condition and development of new effective treatments, data from female animals have been pushed aside and ignored as it was seen as too odd and inconvenient. However, in more recent studies the newfound use of female data is causing a disagreement in dementia research centers.

     In the newer research, the hormone in women called estrogen was found to possibly protect brain cells. Estrogen in women affects the brain, mental health, cardiovascular system, liver, and more. It is debated that if a woman has more estrogen throughout her life, she’s less likely to develop dementia.

     The difference in which men and women are affected differently by dementia starts with depression. Depression is linked to higher dementia risk, according to Gill Livingston, a professor of psychiatry of older people in the UCL Division of Psychiatry at Camden and Islington NHS Foundation Trust. 

     Depression is associated with a smaller hippocampus, which is a brain region important for memory formation. This association is observed in women but not in men, it’s also observed in women that depression causes a faster shrinkage of the hippocampus.

     Another difference that causes women to have later dementia but quicker descent is the frequency of exercise. According to Sarah J Blondell, a research fellow for the School of Public Health, people who exercise are less likely to develop dementia. This couples with the study by Alzheimer’s Dement, which showed that women exercise less than men.