Scientists from the University of Michigan School of Medicine report that symptoms of Alzheimer's disease (AD) appear later in women than in men, but after that, cognitive decline occurs much faster.
Scientists came to such conclusions based on the results of observations of more than 34 thousand men and women who participated in one of five studies from 1971 to 2017. The observation of each participant in these projects lasted an average of 8 years.
The researchers found that women with AD were significantly better than men on tests of cognition, as well as executive function, in particular, the ability to plan and make decisions. At the same time, compared with men, women showed a faster decline in executive functions: self-control, cognitive flexibility. Memory deteriorated in both sexes in about the same way.
It has previously been shown that women in general have a greater reserve of cognitive functions than men. They also perform better on appropriate tests in the early stages of AD. But later, cognitive impairment develops in them in a shorter period of time than in men. Interestingly, higher education also delays the onset of aging-related dementia. But when it starts, the disease progresses much faster.
Scientists emphasize that it is important to take into account all these gender characteristics when diagnosing AD, so that it is possible to diagnose and begin treatment earlier.