Some Women Face Extended High-Risk Period of Developing Alzheimer’s

HealthDay News — Women with a genetic predisposition for Alzheimer’s disease face a 10-year window —between ages 65 and 75 — when they have far greater chances of developing the disease than men with similar genetic risks, according to a study published in JAMA Neurology.

The analysis included 31,340 white North Americans and Europeans in the Global Alzheimer’s Association Interactive Network. All were diagnosed with Alzheimer’s between the ages of 55 and 85. The researchers focused on carriers of the apolipoprotein E ε4 allele.

The investigators found that genetically vulnerable white men and white women aged 55 to 85 have similar odds for developing the disease except during the time between the ages 65 and 75, when the risk appears to increase for women.

“Menopause and plummeting estrogen levels, which on average begins at 51, may account for the difference,” study coauthor Judy Pa, PhD, an assistant professor of neurology at the University of Southern California’s Neuroimaging and Informatics Institute in Los Angeles, said in a university news release. The researchers added larger and diverse studies that involve more women and minorities are needed to confirm their findings.

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Neu SC, Pa J, Kukull W, et al. Apolipoprotein E genotype and sex risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease: a meta analysis [published online August 28, 2017]. JAMA Neurol. doi:10.1001/jamaneurol.2017.2188