Men are more likely than women to have problems with memory and thinking skills - symptoms considered to be an early stage of dementia, according to a new study.
The recent findings come from a study of nearly 2,000 residents of Olmsted County, Minn., who ranged in age from 70 to 89.
Dr. Rosebud Roberts of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., and her colleagues followed the participants beginning in the fall of 2004, collecting new data every 12 to 15 months. The participants were between the ages of 70 and 89.
Overall, 74 percent of the participants had normal mental function; about 16 percent had MCI; and 10 percent had full-on dementia.
"This is one of the first studies to determine the prevalence of mild cognitive impairment among men and women who have been randomly selected from a community to participate in the study," said Dr Roberts, MD, with the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, MN, and member of the American Academy of Neurology.
Mild cognitive impairment can also be described as impairment in memory or other thinking skills beyond what's expected for a person's age and education.
The study found men were one-and-a-half times more likely to have mild cognitive impairment than women. The finding remained the same regardless of a man's education or marital status.
"These findings are in contrast to studies which have found more women than men (or an equal proportion) have dementia, and suggest there's a delayed progression to dementia in men," said Dr Roberts.
"Alternately, women may develop dementia at a faster rate than men," she added.
The research will be presented at the American Academy of Neurology 60th Anniversary Annual Meeting in Chicago, April 12-19, 2008.