A new study published has found that men are more likely to suffer problems with memory and thinking as they age compared with women.
According to a team of scientists in the US, rates of mild cognitive impairment in men were found to be around 1.5 times higher than in women.
Mild cognitive impairment, which can often be associated with Alzheimer’s later in life, is the level of mental decline beyond that which can be explained by normal ageing.
Around 2,000 people in Minnesota aged between 70 and 89, were given a number of memory and thinking skills tests.
And researchers found that almost 14% of participants had mild cognitive impairment.
Around three quarters (76%) were found to have normal mental faculties, while the remaining 10% were suffering with dementia.
A total of 19% of men had mild cognitive impairment compared with 14% of women.
Lead researcher Dr Ronald Petersen, from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, said: “If these results are confirmed in other studies, it may suggest that factors related to gender play a role in the disease. For example, men may experience cognitive decline earlier in life but more gradually, whereas women may transition from normal memory directly to dementia at a later age but more quickly.”
Combined rates of mild cognitive impairment and dementia at 22% highlighted the public health impact of these conditions, said the researchers writing in the journal Neurology.
People in the study who had a low level of education or were never married also had higher rates of MCI.
<http://www.neurology.org/cgi/content/abstract/75/10/889> (Neurology, doi: 2010;75:889-897)