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Women’s Stronger Verbal Skills May Mask Early Signs Of Alzheimer’s Disease

KYW’s Medical Reports Sponsored By Independence Blue Cross

By Dr. Brian McDonough, Medical Editor

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Study after study has shown that when it comes to verbal skills, women have the edge over men — and it can be sizable.

A new report in the Journal Neurology finds this verbal advantage can be important later in life. Women’s advantage over men in verbal memory skills may mask early-stage Alzheimer’s Disease. This is the case even when there are similar cognitive problems.

Women have higher rates of glucose metabolism in the brain which may account for this.

What this means is that women are better able to compensate for underlying changes in the brain until the disease reaches a more advanced stage.

This is important for doctors to know because verbal memory tests are used to diagnose people with Alzheimer’s Disease and mild cognitive impairment.

Certainly this can be an advantage but it may also lead to later diagnosis of issues.

More from Dr. Brian McDonough
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