Health The short straw of a longer life

The short straw of a longer life

Dementia is one of the downsides of living longer but does gender make a difference?

Researchers at The University of Queensland examined over a million death certificates to find out.

The results suggest hormonal changes could affect how dementia progresses.

Researcher Michael Waller says the team looked for records where dementia was listed as a cause of death.

“Within the 184,562 certificates, we found that women had 14 per cent higher rates of death from the most common form of dementia – Alzheimer’s disease.

“Alzheimer’s disease causes dementia by destroying the nerve cells in the brain.”

Men on the other hand had a 20 per cent higher death rate from vascular dementia, the second-most common form, caused by impaired blood flow to the brain.

Dr Waller says the results suggest underlying biological factors could be at play in determining our risk of developing different kinds of dementia.

“There’s a real need to look at the whole picture when studying how a disease like dementia affects a population,” he says.

“Regardless of the gender differences, society needs to consider the implications of people living longer and more people developing dementia.”

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