Monday, November 26, 2012

Study: Alzheimer's Affects Women and Men Differently

A new study indicates Alzheimer's manifests differently in the brains of men versus women.

In a just-published piece, the brain scans of 109 people with "newly diagnosed Alzheimer's" showed brain atrophy occured earlier in women than men. Some researchers believe the more gray matter in the brain, the lower the risk of Alzheimer's.

"Women also lost more gray matter in their brains in the year before their diagnosis. However, men seemed to have more problems with their thinking ability when diagnosed with Alzheimer's than their female counterparts did. What's more, men and women lost gray matter in different areas of their brain," according to U.S. News & World Report.

The study, which has yet to undergo peer review, was presented this weekend at a medical conference in Chicago. Another presentation strengthened what we already know about the importance of exercise - which increases blood flow to the brain - to hold off dementia.

The study out of UCLA included 876 adults with an average age of 78. Only some had Alzheimer's dementia and all underwent MRIs to measure the amount of "gray matter" in their brains. "Study participants who burned more calories via recreational sports, gardening and yard work, bicycling, dancing and riding an exercise cycle lost less gray matter in key areas of their brains. This was true even among those with evidence of mental decline. The finding held even after the team controlled for other factors known to influence brain volume including head size, mental impairment, gender, body weight, education and white matter disease," according to the news report.

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