It’s long been known that people who carry a gene called ApoE4 have a elevated risk of getting Alzheimer’s disease.
But a new study reveals that women born with the gene are twice as likely to develop the disease than men.
Women with ApoE4 gene were 81 per cent more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease when compared to women who did not have the gene. In men, the gene increases the risk only by 27 per cent compared with men without the gene, the study said.
“Figuring out the reason for this sex difference may help researchers better understand what causes Alzheimer’s disease,” said researcher Andre Altmann from Stanford University School of Medicine.
Researchers examined information from more than 5,000 healthy older adults in the U.S. who did not have Alzheimer’s or other types of cognitive problems, and about 2,200 people with mild cognitive impairment.
The researchers noted that about 950 healthy older adults progressed to developing Alzheimer’s disease or mild cognitive impairment.
The study, that appeared in the journal Annals of Neurology, indicates that doctors may need to change the way they interpret the finding of an ApoE4 gene in people, depending on the patient’s sex.