New research has found a link between pregnancy and women's risk of developing dementia. However, the new information may not be as black and white as it appears.
According to the Los Angeles Times, new findings were released at the Alzheimer's Association International Conference in Chicago. The new information offered some insight into why women are twice as likely as men to suffer from dementia later in life. For years, it had been believed that the reason was simply that women tend to live longer than men but that is no longer the case.
Why do more women than men develop dementia? Recent research has linked risk to pregnancy-history, and today scientists at #AAIC presented new findings about this link.— AlzheimersResearchUK (@ARUKnews) July 23, 2018
Read more: https://t.co/9s8cPYatx6 pic.twitter.com/8iDHSqZLvM
The new study began as a way to find the underlying differences between men and women with dementia. It was conducted over decades with all of the data finally being collected, processed, reviewed and released. Kaiser Permanente did a large study featuring women between the ages of 40 and 55. The researchers collected data on details including how many pregnancies each woman had, how many miscarriages, at what age the woman had all of her children, as well as at what age each started her period for the first time.
It was a lot of data, but the findings were conclusive. Women who had three or more children were 12% less likely to develop dementia than those who had two or fewer kids. However, women who had suffered miscarriages were at a higher risk for the disease by almost 47%, as opposed to a woman who had never had a miscarriage.
Why are most #dementia and #Alzheimers sufferers women? Is it because they #livelonger than men? Maybe not. Research links a woman’s dementia #risk to her number of children, #miscarriages, months of #pregnancy, etc. https://t.co/zcx08S9iUZ— Carolina Longevity Institute (@NC_Longevity) July 24, 2018
Despite these findings, there is a lot more research and testing that needs to be done before any real conclusions can be formed. As of now, the information does very little to help anyone to prevent the disease, it only provides insight into the difference between men and women. More studies need to be done to determine the effect of the immune system during pregnancy being a protector against dementia.
There is no need for anyone to panic. The research does not mean you will get the disease if you have been pregnant less than three times or suffered a miscarriage. As researchers strive to find a cure for both dementia and Alzheimer's, understanding possible contributing or non-contributing factors is essential. Therefore take this information with a grain of salt–it is still new–and, again, more information has to be gathered.
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