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Women Show Faster Cognitive Decline Than Men

FRIDAY, March 12, 2021 -- Older women may have greater cognitive reserve but faster cognitive decline than men, according to a study published online Feb. 25 in JAMA Network Open.

Deborah A. Levine, M.D., from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, and colleagues assessed the relationship between sex and cognitive decline to better understand sex differences in dementia risk using pooled data from five cohort studies (1971 to 2017; 26,088 participants; median follow-up, 7.9 years).

The researchers found that women had significantly higher baseline performance than men in global cognition, executive function, and memory. However, women had significantly faster declines in global cognition and executive function than men. Declines in memory were similar between men and women.

"Our findings suggest that women are at risk for delayed identification of cognitive decline, yet more rapid trajectory of decline, suggesting increased risk of dementia and disability compared with men, consistent with research showing that women with mild cognitive impairment or Alzheimer disease have faster cognitive decline than men," the authors write.

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