ABC News (September 7, 2010): Cognitive Impairment Strikes Men More

Publication Date: 
Tue, 09/07/2010

Not only do women live longer than men, on average, but a new study from the Mayo Clinic suggests they also may keep their cognitive function longer, too.

In a study of more than 2,000 adults 70 to 89 years old, researchers found that men were 1.5 times more likely to experience mild cognitive decline than their female counterparts.

Researchers tested elderly men and women in Olmstead County, Minn., for signs of mild cognitive impairment (MCI), a condition in which people have problems with memory or thinking beyond the decline seen because of normal aging. MCI can be a pre-cursor to Alzheimer's disease or other forms of dementia.

Because some, but not all, patients with MCI go on to develop Alzheimer's, understanding how MCI develops and how it affects the population is integral to early detection of dementia and Alzheimer's specifically says the lead author of the study, Dr. Ronald Petersen of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.

Though past research shows that women are more likely to suffer from Alzheimer's in their lifetime, researchers found that there were significantly more men experiencing the early stages of cognitive decline:  19 percent of men had MCI whereas only 14 percent of women did.