Women Have Better Memories Than Men, Especially As They Get Older

Men become more forgetful with age than women do, according to a new study published in JAMA Neurology.

The research involved 1,246 participants, ages 30 to 95, who had normal cognitive functioning.  They were then categorized by age, gender and whether they possessed a specific gene that predisposed them to Alzheimer's disease.

The gene, APOE ε4, doesn't necessarily mean that a person will develop Alzheimer's. However, studies have linked it to a decline in mental health, as well as memory loss.

The study found our memories start to slip the moment we end our reckless 20s. By the time we turn 30, men and women alike start to experience memory loss, CNN reports.

Our memories don't just fade away with age. Apparently, the build up of amyloid -- brain plaques that essentially clog the brain and prevent it from operating smoothly -- is what causes poor memory performance.

Other factors that lead to a decline in brain functioning include the brain shrinking in size with age (as most muscles do), as well as a decrease in the volume of the hippocampal (a brain structure involved in memory forming, organizing and storing).

Ten percent of the participants had developed amyloid accumulation, which prevents healthy cognitive functioning, at the age of 57 if they were found to carry APOE ε4. Ten percent without the gene developed amyloid accumulation at 64.

What's more interesting is that by the time we turn 40, men experience significantly more memory loss than women do.

Researchers explained female hormones, especially estrogen, actually help protect the mind by preventing other ailments like hypertension and heart disease.

The study's lead researcher, Dr. Clifford Jack, said,

Hypertension, diabetes, smoking: Historically, men have had much higher risk factors than women. The same things that harm your vessels harm your brain.

But haven't women been saying all along they possess better memories than men? I guess this makes them better at remembering and smarter.

Citations: Medical News Today