Wednesday, October 14, 2020 marks 10 years since WAM’s founder, Maria Shriver, collaborated with the Alzheimer‘s Association to release The Shriver Report: A Woman’s Nation Takes on Alzheimer‘s, in which it was reported for the first time that Alzheimer‘s discriminates against women. Increased funding in gender based research has given us valuable and exciting insights, some of them supported the generosity of the WAM community. While science can’t yet explain why two out of three brains diagnosed with Alzheimer‘s belong to women, we have made progress.
Here’s what we have learned in the last 10 years:
- The menopausal transition from start to finish can unmask risk of Alzheimer’s. Hormone therapies early can modify that risk.
- Women’s brains are different than men’s:
- Women’s verbal memory can be better and may mask early signs of Alzheimer’s, causing a diagnosis later in the disease. By the time a woman is diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, the burden of Alzheimer’s pathology is quite severe.
- Women’s metabolic health can change during menopause to put their brain at risk of Alzheimer’s. Maintaining metabolic health maintains brain health.
- Women tend to exercise less than men do, at any age, but women who do exercise – especially in midlife — have a lower risk of dementia later in life than those who remain sedentary
- Sex differences in Alzheimer’s have become a priority at NIH in research.
- Risk reduction is a major new component in the Alzheimer’s discussion.
Want to learn more about the progress that has been made and what areas of research hold the greatest promise? Tune in for WAM Live this week to hear Maria Shriver interview one of the world’s leading experts in Alzheimer‘s research, Chief Science Officer of the Alzheimer‘s Association, Dr. Maria Carrillo. We hope you’ll join us 10.14.20 at 3pm PT on WAM’s Instagram.
Lindsey Jordan-Powell was the youngest author in the Shriver Report 10 years ago. At just 16 years old she was a caregiver for her father living with Alzheimer’s. Now looking back, Lindsey writes about that experience and what advice she has for other young caregivers. Read her story and advice here.