By Lisa Esposito
Subtle problems with memory and thinking skills — known as mild cognitive impairment — often precede Alzheimer’s disease, and a new study finds that men are at higher risk for these troubles than women.
Lead researcher Rosebud Roberts and her colleagues looked at 1,450 people from Olmsted County, Minn., who were between 70 and 89 years old and free of dementia in October 2004. Some three and a half years later, 296 had become mildly impaired.
New cases of mild cognitive impairment were consistently higher among men, except in the 85 to 89 age group. Overall, the risk was 40 percent higher for men.
Having a high school or less education was also linked to greater risk, and the study found that the combination of being male without college education brought an “unexpectedly high risk” of impairment that did not involve memory loss.