Study Says Memory Loss Worse for Men Than Women Over Time

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Study Examines Age, Sex, <i>APOE</i> &#949;4 Effects in Adults
Study Examines Age, Sex, APOE ε4 Effects in Adults

(HealthDay News) — Male sex is associated with worse memory and adjusted hippocampal volume (HVa) across the adult life span, according to a study published online March 16 in JAMA Neurology.

Clifford R. Jack Jr., M.D., from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., and colleagues compared age, sex, and APOE ε4 effects on memory, brain structure (HVa), and amyloid positron emission tomography (PET). Data were included for 1,246 cognitively normal adults, aged 30 to 95 years.

The researchers found that from age 30 years through the 90s, memory worsened overall, while HVa worsened gradually from age 30 years to the mid-60s and then worsened more steeply. Until age 70 years, the median amyloid PET was low, but it increased thereafter. Overall, memory was worse in men than women, especially beyond age 40 years; HVa was also lower in men, especially beyond age 60 years. No sex difference was seen in amyloid PET at any age. For each sex, memory performance and HVa did not differ by APOE ε4 status at any age. APOE ε4 carriers had significantly greater median amyloid PET than noncarriers from age 70 years onward.

"Our findings are consistent with a model of late-onset Alzheimer's disease in which β-amyloidosis arises in later life on a background of preexisting structural and cognitive decline that is associated with aging and not with β-amyloid deposits," the authors write.

Several authors disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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