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Alzheimer’s disease ‘harder to diagnose in men'

Women appear more likely to develop dementia as it is harder to detect in men.
Alzheimer's test

It may be more difficult to diagnose dementia in men, which could explain why women appear more likely to develop the condition, a study reveals.

Scrutiny of 1,606 cases where Alzheimers disease was confirmed after death revealed that the area of the brain dealing with memory was less likely to be affected in men than women.

Researchers from the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida, found men were more likely to have experienced atypical symptoms such as issues with movement and speech.

Age of onset also differed between genders, with a spike in cases in men in their 60s, compared with more female cases starting in their 70s or later.

A separate analysis of 1,073 records in the National Alzheimers Coordinating Center database found that one in five people is living with a wrong diagnosis.

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It may be more difficult to diagnose dementia in men, which could explain why women appear more likely to develop the condition, a study reveals.

Alzheimer’s test
Testing for Alzheimer’s. Picture: Science Photo Library

Scrutiny of 1,606 cases where Alzheimer’s disease was confirmed after death revealed that the area of the brain dealing with memory was less likely to be affected in men than women. 

Researchers from the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida, found men were more likely to have experienced atypical symptoms such as issues with movement and speech.

Age of onset also differed between genders, with a spike in cases in men in their 60s, compared with more female cases starting in their 70s or later.

A separate analysis of 1,073 records in the National Alzheimer’s Coordinating Center database found that one in five people is living with a wrong diagnosis.

Just 78% of prognoses in life matched pathological changes observed in the brain at post-mortem, with 11% of Alzheimer’s disease cases undiagnosed, and 11% falsely declared.

'Accurate and timely diagnosis of dementia is essential to enable people to live well for as long as possible,' said Dr Clare Walton of the Alzheimer’s Society. 'If one in five is living with a wrong diagnosis, they might not have access to treatments that can provide welcome relief.'

The studies suggest that there are significant differences in the way the disease affects men and women It also indicates more research is needed to understand why misdiagnosis in men may account for nearly two-thirds of people living with dementia in the UK being women.

Alzheimer’s Association International Conference, Toronto (2016) Presented studies by the Mayo Clinic of data in the State of Florida brain bank, and statistics from the National Alzheimer’s Coordinating Center database

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