Men and women have different cardiometabolic risk factors that could lower their cognitive abilities, a study showed.
The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released the study commissioned as part of the academic research program to build clinical study infrastructure in fighting dementia.
A research team at Samsung Medical Center that undertook the study said women with cardiometabolic risk factors such as hypertension, diabetes, and obesity were more vulnerable to the reduction of cortical thickness than men with the same condition. In contrast, underweight men showed reduced cortical thickness.
The research team recruited 1,322 cognitively normal elderly individuals -- 774 men (58.5 percent) and 548 women (41.5 percent)). They measured cortical thickness using MRI images and analyzed the associations of cardiometabolic risk factors with cortical thickness.
The results showed that women with hypertension or diabetes had relatively lower cortical thickness than those without them. Age-related reduction in cortical thickness was faster in obese women with a body mass index (BMI) exceeding 27.5 kg/m2.
In contrast, being underweight was associated with lower cortical thickness among men.
“Our findings suggest that cortical thickness is more vulnerable to cardiometabolic risk factors in women than in men. As this is related with the decline of cognitive function, the study signals that it is important to control the risk factors to prevent dementia,” said Seo Sang-won, a professor at the Neurology Department at Samsung Medical Center, who led the study.
The study, “Sex-specific relationship of the cardiometabolic syndrome with lower cortical thickness,” was published in the international journal Neurology on Sept. 10.