Are we wired differently? Canadian researchers taking a look at Alzheimer's patients in Canada have just noted that there are differences in how the disease affects patients. The disease appears to attack men and women uniquely. The areas of the brain that are involved in motivation and emotion are different in men and women.
Researchers in Toronto found that men with the dementia were more likely to have damage in the limbic areas of the brain than women. These areas are involved in emotion and motivation.
"It reminds us that we should always be aware of potential biological differences between men and women," says Dr. Sandra Black, co-investigator of the study and head of the hospital's division of neurology.
Black says the findings mean it will become increasingly important for researchers to include both men and women in studies of Alzheimer's disease. Why these differences exist is not known, Black says. "The fact that women go into an estrogen deprivation state with menopause may be relevant."
In their study, Black and a colleague mapped the limbic systems of 20 men and 20 women with Alzheimer's disease and 40 healthy men and women in the same age range.
In the comparison group, there were no brain differences between the men and women.