Women and men are affected differently by the disease, a reality often overlooked in the research. 

In 2005, the New York Times ran a story that caused an extra frisson of fear in roughly 48% of its readers. It reported a study that found regular aspirin did not prevent a first heart attack in women under 65, as it did in men.

The finding, since confirmed in a number of studies, was something of a touchstone in the increasing push to include sex as a variable in research design, now mandated by the US National Institutes of Health and the European Commission.

A new paper from the Society for Women’s Health Research in Washington DC in the US, however, suggests that when it comes to Alzheimer’s research, we have a bit of catching up to do.

“A growing body of research shows us that Alzheimer’s disease differs between women and men,” says Pauline Maki from the University of Illinois at Chicago, a co-author on the paper, which is published in the journal Alzheimer’s & Dementia.

Some of those differences place women at a striking disadvantage from the disease, which blights more than 5.5 million Americans over 65 with memory loss, muddled thinking and social withdrawal.

Read the full article in Cosmos magazine here