A need for sex-adjusted clinical tests for early Alzheimer’s? new paper in Neurology
A new study published in the Journal ‘Neurology’ by Sundermann et al. suggests that sex-differences should be taken into account when performing a clinical diagnosis of early Alzheimer’s disease.
Verbal memory tests, in fact, are routinely used to detect subtle cognitive disturbances which often are the prelude to full Alzheimer’s disease (a stage called amnestic Mild Cognitive Impairment, aMCI). However, women’s verbal skills are higher than men’s, giving them an advantage in this type of tests. The authors found that, even in the presence of hippocampal neurodegeneration, women obtain ‘normal’ scores in verbal memory tests and therefore ‘miss’ an aMCI diagnosis.
‘A true aMCI diagnosis may be delayed more often in women than men because the female advantage in verbal memory may mask underlying neurodegeneration, particularly in earlier disease stages‘ (Sundermann et al, verbatim)
Hence, aMCI in women goes likely undetected for a long time.These results could explain the apparent higher aMCI incidence in men, while AD incidence is biased towards women at later stages of the disease (reviewed here).
Sex-adjusted clinical tests for aMCI might be needed for a correct, early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease.
(posted by MTF for the Women’s Brain Project)