Tests Need to Be Adjusted for Gender.


Using sex-specific scores on memory tests may change the diagnosis for 20% of those currently diagnosed with mild cognitive impairment, with possibly more women and fewer men being diagnosed with MCI, according to a Stony Brook (N.Y.) University study published in the journal Neurology.

Considered a precursor to dementia, MCI is when people have memory and thinking skill problems. Because women typically score higher than men on tests of verbal memory, they may not be diagnosed with MCI as early as men are when they have the same levels of Alzheimer's disease-related brain changes, such as the amount of amyloid plaque deposits in the brain or amount of shrinkage in the hippocampus area.

The study shows that when tests for mild cognitive impairment are adjusted for sex, more women and fewer men are diagnosed with the condition, which is a precursor to dementia.

In the study, researchers used memory test scores based on sex instead of averages for both men and women; they found that 10% more women were diagnosed with MCI and 10% fewer men. "There are numerous implications to our findings if they are...

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