Alzheimer's is a form of dementia, a brain disorder disease which slowly destroys memory and thinking ability of a person. The disease gets worse with time and severely affects the daily task. Earlier, Alzheimer's was believed to be a part of aging, but it is now declared as a brain disease. It is now divided into two types:
Early-onset type: It symptoms appear around the age of 30 to early 60s. This is a rare case of Alzheimer.
Late-onset type: It occurs in the mid-60s and afterward.
Alzheimer's is detected through brain scanning method like computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), or positron emission tomography (PET).
The main features of Alzheimer's are plaques, tangles, and loss of connections between nerve cells (neurons) in the brain. Plaques are protein fragment called beta-amyloid that build-up in the space between the nerve cells. Tangles are the twisted fiber of protein known as 'Tau'.
These protein accumulations in the brain are the marker of Alzheimer's onset. A new study suggested that women are more prone to Alzheimer's than men. This is proved based on greater protein accumulation capacity of female than their male counter-part.
A study performed at Alzheimer's Association International Conference has identified differences in the protein spread pattern called tau, which is linked to cognitive impairment between men and women. Women show a larger brain-wide accumulation of tau than men due to an accelerated brain-wide protein spread.
Researcher's used data of people with a healthy brain, mild Alzheimer's cases and extreme Alzheimer cases by positron emission tomography (PET) technique. The evidence from the study suggests that tau travel from neuron to neuron-like an infection killing brain cells slowly. The research also suggests that tau network is different in women and men.
Reasons for developing protein accumulation and Alzheimer in women
- Women's are more at risk of tau spreading due to a large number of bridging regions which connects nerves in the brain. This is the reason why they are at greater risk of Alzheimer's disease.
- Women develop depression easily and depressed mood has been linked to the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.
- Other risk factors that affect only women are surgical menopause and pregnancy complications like pre-eclampsia. This lead to cognitive decline in later life of women.
- Social responsibilities like caregiving also may increase the chance of developing dementia. From a data of UK brain diagnosis center, 60-70% of all unpaid caregivers, in particular, are women who suffer Alzheimer in later stages.
Sex-specific distinction in the pathology, neuro-anatomical and functional organization of the brain may help in mapping differences at a neuro-behavioral and cognitive level. Thus explaining differences in the prevalence of neurodegenerative disorders and helping us develop appropriate treatments shortly for Alzheimer's.
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