New study: Women at higher risk to develop Alzheimer's disease

New study: Women at higher risk to develop Alzheimer's disease

The Alzheimer's Association has released new research that puts women at the epicenter of what it calls an "Alzheimer's crisis."

Almost two-thirds of seniors living with the disease are women. That's 3.2 million women. 

Women in their 60s are about two times more likely to develop Alzheimer's than breast cancer. Also, at age 65, women without Alzheimer's have more than a 1 in 6 chance of developing Alzheimer's compared to men who have a 1 in 11 chance. 
  
The study included a survey of more than 3,000 women commissioned by the Alzheimer's Association.

KATU's Emily Sinovic spoke with OHSU's director at the Layton Aging and Alzheimer's Disease Center to analyze the study.

Dr. Jeffrey Kaye has led the research into the disease at OHSU for decades. He said women's brains seem to be more vulnerable to some genetic triggers. Unlike other diseases, doctors don't have the answers to why it affects women more than men, when it begins and how it can be stopped.

"It's the only (disease) for which there is no cures, there's no treatment. There are no Alzheimer's survivors," he said. "We have to look at this more seriously - if we don't do that, it's going to continue to be this kind of buried problem, and we're not going to get anywhere."

His advice for both women and men is simple: "Things that are not sexy or they're not a magic pill - things like physical activities, certain diets, social engagement (and) certain kinds of mental activity," he said.

Also: Knowing what to look for is key to early detection, getting involved in clinical studies and trying medication that could slow the process could help.

Click here for more information from the Alzheimer's Association.