Recent studies show women endure Alzheimer’s disease more than men. For years it was written off as an age issue because women live longer than men. Now, neurologists are studying that is could be for more reasons than just life expectancy.
“It could partly be hormonal,” said Paola Sandroni, M.D, Ph.D at the Mayo Clinic. Sandroni is a Neurologist studying Alzheimer’s.
Research has found that women in their 60’s are twice as likely to develop Alzheimer’s than breast cancer.
It is widely believed that giving women an estrogen-progesterone combination of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) increases the risk for heart disease as well as stroke, blood clots, dementia and breast cancer, according to a recent article from CBS news.
This research is so important as part of broader exploration into links between the number of births women go through and their risk for dementia.
Interestingly, in a Kaiser Permanente study of 15,000 women, females with three or more children had a 12% lower risk of developing cognitive issues than a woman with only one child. Pregnancy failures increased a woman’s dementia risk, as those with three or more miscarriages showed a 47% higher risk for dementia.
Alzheimer’s disease is a buildup in the brain of beta amyloid plaque and neurofibrillary tangles. Scientists are researching the link between the mental deterioration and a woman’s hormones.
Mayo Clinic has one of the most important research centers, says Sandroni.
“There are now ongoing studies focusing on developing a vaccine to prevent deposition of the proteins that cause the disease as well as what role lifestyle modifications can take,” she said.
Another study suggests more women than men carry a copy of the ApoE-4 gene, a gene the increases the likelihood of getting Alzheimer’s. Men who have this gene are only slightly at increased risk of attaining Alzheimer’s. It is believed that it is not just the gene that causes the risk but how the gene reacts with estrogen.