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Mild Cognitive Impairment Risk Higher for Men Than Women

Last Updated: September 07, 2010.

About 16 percent of dementia-free elderly individuals have mild cognitive impairment, and the risk for mild cognitive impairment is higher in men than in women, according to a study in the Sept. 7 issue of Neurology.

TUESDAY, Sept. 7 (HealthDay News) -- About 16 percent of dementia-free elderly individuals have mild cognitive impairment (MCI), and the risk for MCI is higher in men than in women, according to a study in the Sept. 7 issue of Neurology.

Ronald C. Petersen, M.D., of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., and colleagues assessed cognitive function in a random sample of 1,969 70- to 89-year-old subjects without known dementia living in Olmsted County, Minn. Each subject was given a neurologic examination and evaluated on the Clinical Dementia Rating Scale to assess four cognitive domains: memory, executive function, language, and visuospatial skills. The subjects were classified as having normal cognition, MCI, or dementia.

The researchers found that 16.0 percent of the subjects had MCI, including 11.1 percent with amnestic MCI, and 4.9 percent with non-amnestic MCI. MCI prevalence increased with age and was found to be higher in men than women (adjusted odds ratio [aOR], 1.54), in subjects who never married (aOR, 1.62), in subjects with an APOE ε3ε4 or ε4ε4 genotype (aOR, 1.68), and in those with fewer than nine years of education (aOR, 2.82). MCI prevalence decreased as the number of years of education increased.

"The higher prevalence of MCI in men may suggest that women transition from normal cognition directly to dementia at a later age but more abruptly," the authors write.

The study authors disclosed financial ties to pharmaceutical and/or medical device companies.

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