Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society

Research Articles

Women have Farther to Fall: Gender Differences Between Normal Elderly and Alzheimer's Disease in Verbal Memory Engender Better Detection of Alzheimer's Disease in Women

Robert M. Chapmana1 c1, Mark Mapstonea2, Margaret N. Gardnera3, Tiffany C. Sandovala3, John W. McCrarya1, Maria D. Guillilya3, Lindsey A. Reillya3 and Elizabeth DeGrusha3

a1 Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences and Center for Visual Science, University of Rochester, Rochester, New York

a2 Department of Neurology, University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, New York

a3 Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, University of Rochester, Rochester, New York

Abstract

We analyzed verbal episodic memory learning and recall using the Logical Memory (LM) subtest of the Wechsler Memory Scale-III to determine how gender differences in AD compare to those seen in normal elderly and whether or not these differences impact assessment of AD. We administered the LM to both an AD and a Control group, each comprised of 21 men and 21 women, and found a large drop in performance from normal elders to AD. Of interest was a gender interaction whereby the women's scores dropped 1.6 times more than the men's did. Control women on average outperformed Control men on every aspect of the test, including immediate recall, delayed recall, and learning. Conversely, AD women tended to perform worse than AD men. Additionally, the LM achieved perfect diagnostic accuracy in discriminant analysis of AD versus Control women, a statistically significantly higher result than for men. The results indicate the LM is a more powerful and reliable tool in detecting AD in women than in men. (JINS, 2011, 17, 654–662)

(Received September 19 2010)

(Revised March 03 2011)

(Accepted March 03 2011)

(Online publication April 13 2011)

Correspondence:

c1 Correspondence and reprint requests to: Robert M. Chapman, Center for Visual Science at the University of Rochester, 775 Library Road, Rochester, New York 14627-0270. E-mail: rmc@cvs.rochester.edu