Director of the Women's Brain Initiative and Associate Director of the Alzheimer's Prevention Clinic at Weill Cornell Medical College
POSTPONED! Sex Differences in Alzheimer’s Risk and The Weill Cornell Women’s Brain Initiative
After advanced age, female sex is the major risk factor for late-onset Alzheimer’s disease (AD). While AD is not unique to females, women constitute roughly two-thirds of patients living with AD-dementia, with postmenopausal women accounting for over 60% of all those affected. While previously, the 2:1 ratio was attributed to women’s longer life expectancy relative to men, several emerging lines of evidence point to sex- and gender-specific AD risk factors rather than life span. Recent studies have identified over thirty AD risk factors that impact the sexes differently, with female sex generally being more severely impacted. These include chiefly genetic (e.g. family history, APOE genotype), medical (e.g., depression, stroke, diabetes), hormonal (e.g., menopause, thyroid disease), and lifestyle risks (e.g., smoking, diet, exercise, intellectual activity). As many of these AD risk factors are modifiable, especially if addressed in midlife, identification of sex-specific risks is pivotal towards development of targeted AD risk reduction strategies.
Lisa Mosconi, Ph.D. is the director of the Women’s Brain Initiative and associate director of the Alzheimer’s Prevention Clinic at Weill Cornell Medical College, where she serves as an associate professor of neuroscience in neurology and radiology. In addition, she is an adjunct faculty member at New York University’s Department of Psychiatry and the author of Brain Food: The Surprising Science of Eating for Cognitive Power andThe XX Brain: The Groundbreaking Science Empowering Women to Maximize Cognitive Health and Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease.