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Women More Resistant To Alzheimer’s Gene Effects Than Men, Study Finds

Jul 26, 2016 04:08 AM EDT
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Women are more resilient against the effects of the Alzheimer’s genes, a new study suggested.
(Photo : Unsplash/Pixabay)

Women are more resilient against the effects of the Alzheimer's genes, a new study suggested.

Moreover, researchers found that the level of mental activity could also contribute to the brain's ability to withstand damages caused by the disease.

"There's so much research coming out on all these sex differences people have just been ignoring for a while, and they could be really important," Kirstie McDermott a neuroscientist from the University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada and lead author of the study, said in a report by Edmonton Journal.

For the study, the research team looked into patient information gathered through the Victoria Longitudinal Study, which follows the health and habits of adults since the 1980s.

The researchers tracked dementia rates for 642 people between ages 53 and 95. All subjects carried at least one of the two types of DNA linked to higher risks of Alzheimer's disease: the APOEe4 or CLU CC genes.

After tracking the gene carriers for nine years, the researchers found that gender was a factor.

About 47 percent of men exhibited signs of decline in memory and stability over the study period compared with only 32 percent of women in the subject groups, HealthDay reports.

The resilience against memory loss was also found to improve over time for both men and women who had higher education, had social activities, good muscle tone, and who engaged in challenging mental activities.

The researchers also found that women who have better lung function, are constantly mobile and have an active social life - such as volunteering - are likely to maintain a healthy memory.

Moreover, the researchers found that men who have no symptoms of depression could have a fighting chance against dementia.

"The ultimate goal would be to, before people start declining cognitively, especially people who have these genes and are at a high risk for declining, is to go in and intervene with these modifiable factors and say, 'Here's a good idea of what you could do now to prevent a cognitive decline later in your life,'" McDermott said.

The research findings were presented at the Alzheimer's Association's International Conference in Toronto.

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