Scientists from the Australian Institute of Global Health George found that the high risk of dementia in women may be associated with socio-economic, rather than biological factors, in particular – with the number of years spent on education. The study is published in the journal Alzheimer’s & Dementia.
Nearly 30,000 people from 18 countries on six continents took part in the study. The scientists looked at the effects of age, diabetes, depression, hearing loss, and mutations in the APOE4 gene. These signs are risk factors for dementia, and they affected men and women equally.
At the same time, dementia was more often found in women, this dependence is especially pronounced in poorer countries. Part of the difference in incidence is due to the fact that women live longer than men, but age alone cannot fully explain the difference.
The researchers also found that more years of education, wider hips, moderate alcohol consumption and high physical activity were associated with a lower risk of dementia in both sexes. But the number of years spent on education was more significant for women.
The authors believe that, in general, the geographic patterns of increased risk of dementia among women echo the degree of gender inequality: in poorer countries, study participants did not have equal educational and professional opportunities with men. Previously, other studies have shown that higher levels of education and mentally stimulating activities protect men and women from dementia.