weekly blog--one for the ages
Until a few years ago, many researchers thought more women were living with Alzheimer's because they live longer than men. New research suggests that differences in the brains of women and men may be more of a factor, along with social and genetic differences.
One recent study looked at sex differences involving a toxic protein called tau, which tends to spread like an infection through the brains of people with Alzheimer's. It concluded that tau is more spread out in women with mild cognitive problems and is able to move more easily from one brain area to another. Another study looked at how work and family experience affects women's risk of memory problems in later life. The study of more than 6,000 women born between 1935 and 1956 found that working outside the home is good for the brain.
Meanwhile, testing for Alzheimer’s disease can be a long, costly, and tiresome process. However, researchers around the globe are trying to come up with a blood test to detect the early onset of Alzheimer’s. A group at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston has developed a blood test that evaluates the level of tau before a patient is even showing signs or symptoms of the disease.