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Scientists may have discovered why more women suffer from Alzheimer's disease, dementia

August 04, 2019 - 9:16 am

KYW Newsradio’s Medical Reports are sponsored by Independence Blue Cross. ​

By Dr. Brian McDonough, Medical Editor

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Scientist believe they may have discovered why more women suffer from Alzheimer's disease and dementia than men. 

In the past, it had been assumed that this is the case quite simply because women live longer than men. But it's not that simple. 

Researchers suggested differences in brain activity and sex specific genes linked to risk could explain the numbers. The work, which was done at Vanderbilt University, looked at brain scans of hundreds of men and women and examined proteins called tau and amyloid. 

Both tau and amyloid can form toxic tangled clumps and this causes brain cells to die, leading to memory problems.

According to their studies, women have better connectivity between regions where the tau proteins build up. So when clumping occurs, it impact communication among cells, which results in confusion and decreased brain function.