New clues on why women's Alzheimer's risk differs from men's

Researchers have found differences in how tau, a protein that forms tangles that destroy nerve cells, spreads in the brains of women compared to men.

Scientists at Vanderbilt University studied scans on 301 people with normal thinking skills and 161 others with mild impairment. They mapped the tau deposits and correlated them with nerve networks. It was found that tau networks in women with mild impairment were more spread out, suggesting that more areas of the brain were affected.

Further research is needed to understand the differences in disease progression among females and males. The study findings were presented this week at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference in Los Angeles, California.

Two-thirds of Alzheimer’s cases in the United States are in women, and it’s not just because women live longer, experts say.

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