Alzheimer’s hits women more severely than men

August 26th, 2012 - 12:45 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, Aug 26 (IANS) Alzheimer’s hits women more severely than men, even when both are in the same stage of the disease.

Researchers from the University of Hertfordshire discovered that men with Alzheimer’s consistently performed better than their women counterparts, across the five cognitive areas they examined.

Most remarkably, the verbal skills of women with Alzheimer’s are worse when compared to men with the disease, the Journal of Clinical and Experimental Neuropsychology reports.

Researchers led by Keith Laws, professor of psychology at Hertfordshire, completed a meta-analysis of neurocognitive data from 15 published studies, which revealed a consistent male advantage on verbal and visuo-spatial tasks, and tests of both episodic and semantic memory.

Episodic memory is our ability to recall specific events of our past, accompanied by the feeling of remembering. Semantic memory is the other knowledge that we acquire which is purely factual without any personal feeling or history attached, according to a Hertfordshire statement.

“Unlike mental decline associated with normal aging, something about Alzheimer’s specifically disadvantages women. There has been some previous, but limited, evidence that women with Alzheimer’s deteriorate faster than men in the earlier stages of the disease,” said Law.

Further analysis of the study data showed that age, education level and dementia severity did not explain the advantage that men with the disease have over women with the disease.

Alzheimer’s disease, which damages memory, thinking, behaviour and emotion, is the most common form of dementia affecting 30 million people worldwide, with 4.6 million new cases being added every year.

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