To Prevent Alzheimer’s, We Must Study Differences between the Sexes

By Rebecca Nebel

Growing older may be inevitable, but getting Alzheimer’s disease is not. While we can’t stop our advancing age (which is the biggest risk factor for Alzheimer’s), there are many other factors that can be modified to reduce our risk for the disease.

Determining how these risk factors may differentiate between women and men could help us understand why Alzheimer’s can present, progress, and respond to treatments differently in each sex, providing new therapeutic avenues to explore.

Unfortunately, most studies of Alzheimer’s risk factors look at combined data for women and men and do not analyze data by sex to identify risk factors that are more common or more predictive in women versus men.

In a review paper just published in Alzheimer’s & Dementia: The Journal of the Alzheimer’s Association, I, along with researchers from the Society for Women’s Health Research Interdisciplinary Network on Alzheimer’s Disease call for more research into sex differences in Alzheimer’s disease to improve prevention, diagnosis and treatment.

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