New research has found that the negative impact of most cardiovascular diseases on thinking and memory skills may be stronger for women than men. The study has been published in the ‘Neurology Journal’.
“Our results show that midlife cardiovascular conditions and risk factors were associated with midlife cognitive decline, but the association is stronger for women,” said study author Michelle M. Mielke, Ph.D., of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., and a member of the American Academy of Neurology.
“Specifically, we found that certain cardiovascular conditions, such as diabetes, heart disease and dyslipidemia, which is abnormally high levels of fats in the blood, had stronger associations with cognitive decline in women compared to men,” she added.
The study looked at 1,857 people without dementia who were between the ages of 50 and 69 at the start of the study. People were given a clinical evaluation every 15 months for an average of three years. This included nine tests of memory, language, executive function, and spatial skills combined to calculate a composite cognitive score.
Researchers found that most cardiovascular conditions were more strongly associated with cognitive function among women. For example, heart disease was associated with more than a two-fold greater decline in composite cognitive test scores for women compared to men.