Many men are not accurately diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease during their lifetime, according to data presented at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference.
Melissa Murray, PhD, assistant professor at the Mayo Clinic, and colleagues also identified a possible relationship between age of onset of the disease and sex.
"This study goes much deeper than just looking at the difference between the number of women and men diagnosed," Maria C. Carillo, PhD, chief science officer of the Alzheimer's Association, said in a press release. "An accurate and timely diagnosis can provide individuals and their families with more and better opportunities to receive the best possible care at the earliest time point."
The researchers identified 1,606 cases of Alzheimer's disease at the State of Florida brain bank, which ranged in age from 37 to 102 years. They collected clinical and demographic data, including disease duration, family history, age of onset and Mini-Mental Status Examination (MMSE). Murray and colleagues also assessed MAPT and APOE for any genetic differences.
Results showed that men were more commonly younger at age onset, had an atypical clinical diagnosis and had shorter disease duration, while women more commonly had lower education and were older at their time of death.
In terms of disease pathology, men were more commonly classified with hippocampal sparing Alzheimer's disease, while women were more commonly classified with limbic predominant Alzheimer's disease.
Murray and colleagues reported a higher frequency of Alzheimer's in men in their 60s, while there was a disproportionately large number of women with Alzheimer's in their 70s, 80s and 90s.
"While it is well accepted that age is the strongest risk factor for Alzheimer's, there is an enormous need to understand additional factors that contribute to the development of the disease," Murray said in the release, "Our study demonstrates that there may be an interaction between age of onset and sex-based differences."
She concluded: "In our study population, neuropathologically diagnosed Alzheimer's was observed at the same frequency overall in both sexes, but occurred quite frequently depending on the age range being examined. Atypical clinical presentations were more common in men, suggesting that their lower reported prevalence of Alzheimer's may be a result of the disease not being accurately recognized in life." – by Chelsea Frajerman Pardes
Murray M, et al. Alzheimer's disease may not be more common in women; men may be more commonly misdiagnosed. Presented at: Alzheimer’s Association International Conference; July 24-28, 2016; Toronto.
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