Men more likely to have problems with memory and thinking skills

April 16, 2008

When it comes to remembering things, new research shows men are more likely than women to have mild cognitive impairment, the transition stage before dementia. The research will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology 60th Anniversary Annual Meeting in Chicago, April 12–19, 2008.

"This is one of the first studies to determine the prevalence of mild cognitive impairment among men and women who have been randomly selected from a community to participate in the study,” said study author Rosebud Roberts, MD, with the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, and member of the American Academy of Neurology. Mild cognitive impairment can also be described as impairment in memory or other thinking skills beyond what’s expected for a person’s age and education.

For the study, 2,050 people living in Olmsted County, Minnesota, who were between the ages of 70 and 89 were interviewed, examined, and given cognitive tests. Overall, 15 percent of the group had mild cognitive impairment.

The study found men were one-and-a-half times more likely to have mild cognitive impairment than women. The finding remained the same regardless of a man’s education or marital status.

“These findings are in contrast to studies which have found more women than men (or an equal proportion) have dementia, and suggest there’s a delayed progression to dementia in men,” said Roberts. “Alternately, women may develop dementia at a faster rate than men.”

Source: American Academy of Neurology

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