Pittsboro Community Topics: Women’s Verbal Memory May Shield the Risk for Alzheimer’s

November 3, 2016 | By Lorenzo Mejia

Alzheimer’s may be harder to detect in women due to their verbal memory. Women tend to retain their verbal memory better than men which may make it more difficult to detect earlier. Even when women’s brains show the same level of problems associated with the disease, they are able to recall words and other verbal items better than men. Since the ability to recall words is used to diagnose people with cognitive impairment, this can make diagnosis more difficult in women.

Women perform better on verbal memory throughout life and this may give them a buffer of protection against losing their verbal acuity. The recent findings suggest that women can compensate for changes associated with Alzheimer’s with their cognitive reserve until the disease reaches a more advanced stage. As a result, Alzheimer’s may not be diagnosed until the disease has progressed and there are fewer options left for treatment. Adjusting memory tests to account for the differences between men and women may help to protect women with earlier diagnosis and preventative measures.

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