Washington, May 1 : A recent research on Alzheimer's disease has suggested that the risks for developing this disorder differ between the sexes.
The French researchers said that while the critical factors in men for developing Alzheimer's was stroke, it was depression in women.
These findings are based on a study conducted on almost 7000 people over the age of 65, drawn from the general population in three French cities.
The researchers found that none of these people had dementia, but around four out of 10 appeared to have mildly impaired mental agility (mild cognitive impairment) at the start of the study.
After examining their progress two and four years later, it was found that just over 6.5pct of those deemed to be cognitively impaired developed dementia over the next four years. In just over half, no change was seen. Just over one in three reverted to normal levels of cognitive agility.
Those who were depressed and who were taking anticholinergic drugs, which influence chemical signalling in the brain, were more prone to progress from mild cognitive impairment to dementia.
Also, even a variation in the ApoE gene, a known risk factor for dementia, was found to be more common among those whose mild cognitive impairment progressed.
However, the results showed that the risk factors differed between the sexes and men with mild cognitive impairment were more likely to be overweight, diabetic, and to have had a stroke.
While men who had had a stroke were almost three times as likely to progress, and women with mild cognitive impairment were more likely to be in poorer general health, disabled, suffering from insomnia and to have a poor support network.
The results also showed that women unable to perform routine daily tasks, which would allow them to live without assistance, were 3.5 times as likely to progress. And those who were depressed were twice as likely to do so.
But, stroke was not a risk factor for women, despite a similar rate of occurrence in both sexes.
The study is published ahead of print in the Journal of Neurology Neurosurgery and Psychiatry.