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Women with memory problems have faster decline than men

Women with memory problems experience faster rates of cognitive decline than men, according to research revealed today.

The study, presented at the Alzheimer's Association International Conference in Washington today, found that women with mild cognitive impairment (MCI) had double the rate of cognitive decline that men had.

People with MCI often have difficulties with day-to-day memory, but the problems are not yet bad enough to be defined as dementia.

Commenting on the findings, Dr Doug Brown, director of research at Alzheimer's Society, said: “Researchers are in the dark as to why this is - we still have a long way to go to unravel all the complex causes of dementia. Future research to understand why these gender differences exist could help us develop and tailor treatments for men and women with the condition.”

“Considerably more women develop dementia in the Western world than men and this isn't just because they live longer,” he said.

The study followed 398 people with MCI (141 women and 257 men).

Dementia is a top priority for secretary of state for health Jeremy Hunt, as highlighted in his first speech in the current government.

“I think the quality of dementia care is very variable,” he said. “We've got much better at diagnosing it but I'm still not confident that when people get a diagnosis, they then get the first-class care and support that they need.”