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Does dementia progress more quickly in men or women?

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Quick Answer

Alzheimer's disease progresses more quickly in women than in men, according to a meta analysis of 15 published studies conducted by British researchers, reports the Assisted Living Federation of America. Although the analysis did not cover all types of dementia, the results were definitive.

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Full Answer

Alzheimer's disease is the most common type of dementia, making up between 60 and 80 percent of the cases, according to the Alzheimer's Organization. Thus, the more rapid progression in women of this type of dementia could be indicative of similar trends in other types. Researchers in the British analysis warned, however, that further research is needed to provide more precise answers, reports the Assisted Living Federation of America.

In regard to the British meta analysis, the conclusion was very clear, states the Assisted Living Federation of America: In tests of five cognitive areas, men consistently performed better than women as the disease progressed. Men also scored better in these tests than women at similar stages of disease progression; the most drastic difference in test scores were in measures of semantic memory ability. Tests were then controlled for education level, age and severity of the Alzheimer's, with men again scoring higher. Earlier research had presented limited evidence that the disease progressed faster in women in its earlier stages, while this meta analysis suggests that trend may hold throughout the course of the disease.

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