New Alzheimer's study explains why women are more likely to develop dementia than men
Created: 12/25/2022, 9:44 am
By: Romina Kunze
Dementia can affect anyone.
However, the disease is much more common in women.
A study has now found the reason.
Frankfurt – Everybody forgets something every now and then;
minor memory lapses are normal.
But if forgetting becomes an illness, even everyday things become difficult, even to the point of helplessness.
Relatives and those affected know: dementia not only robs the sufferer of their memories, it affects their health and also becomes a burden for those around them.
The most common form of dementia is Alzheimer's.
According to the Federal Statistical Office (Destatis), 19,356 of the 1.8 million people suffering from dementia were even in inpatient treatment in 2021.
What is striking is that the figures published by the Office for World Alzheimer's Day on September 21, 2022 showed that significantly more women (58.5 percent) than men (41.4 percent) were affected.
dementia patients worldwide
44 million people
Dementia sufferers in Germany (in 2021)
number of sick women
number of sick men
Source: German Alzheimer Society
Alzheimer's dementia: Altered protein is the reason why many women get the disease
A new study by a research team at Changchun University of Medicine in China has shown that women are actually more susceptible to Alzheimer's disease.
According to Hongmei Yang's international scientific team, a change in a specific protein in the brain could be the cause of dementia.
According to this, the mutated C3 protein was many times more present in the female subjects with Alzheimer's than in male or female subjects without Alzheimer's.
"These differences may reflect the fact that the disease is almost twice as common in women as in men," says the study, which was published in the journal Science Advance.
In its normal function, the C3 protein contributes to an intact immune system.
It helps identify harmful pathogens.
If it changes, however, it can promote the death of nerve cells in the brain.
It then causes immune cells to erroneously destroy intact synapses as well.
Estrogen levels in women: The risk of dementia increases after menopause
According to the research team, a connection between altered C3 proteins and dementia is not a new finding.
The fact that it makes a gender-specific difference, however, does.
"Although enormous progress has been made in Alzheimer's research in the last ten years, additional consideration of gender differences will be important in order to explain the increased incidence of the disease in women," the article continues.
The reason for this is “genetic and hormonal factors”.
For people with Alzheimer's, forgetting becomes a disease.
They can usually neither remember things from their lives nor recognize loved ones.
© Ute Grabowsky/Imago
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Specifically: The protein change is determined by the estrogen level.
Because it releases hormones that protect the protein.
However, estrogen levels decrease with age, especially after menopause.
The protection decreases, the risk of modification of the protein and malfunction increases.
This could explain why older women are often affected by dementia, according to the conclusions of the paper.
Disease so far incurable - new drug gives hope
There is currently no cure for dementia, but recently a drug that is supposed to slow down the progression of the disease caused a stir in the specialist press;
and gives those affected hope.
In the study, the research team examined ten brains from deceased women and men, both with and without proven Alzheimer's disease.
Their results should help in the future to identify dementia at an early stage and thus reduce the risk of Alzheimer's.
Note from the editor:
Note from the editor:
The information given in this article does not replace a visit to a doctor.
Only experts can make the right diagnosis and initiate appropriate therapy.
The intake of medication or dietary supplements should be discussed with a doctor beforehand.