[Skip to Navigation]
May 1996

Gender Comparisons of Cognitive Performances Among Vascular Dementia, Alzheimer Disease, and Older Adults Without Dementia

Author Affiliations

From the Ethel Percy Andrus Gerontology Center (Drs Buckwalter, Rizzo, and Henderson), Departments of Neurology, Division of Cognitive Neuroscience and Neurogerontology and Psychology (Dr Henderson), University of Southern California, Los Angeles; and Departments of Social Ecology (Dr McCleary), Neurology (Dr Shankle), and Psychobiology (Dr Dick), University of California, Irvine.

Arch Neurol. 1996;53(5):436-439. doi:10.1001/archneur.1996.00550050066025

Background:  We hypothesized that women with Alzheimer disease (AD) would perform worse on a test of semantic memory but not on tests of other cognitive domains. We did not expect that women without dementia would perform more poorly than men without dementia on the same task.

Objective:  To explore the specificity of a semantic memory deficit among women with AD by exploring gender differences among a group of subjects with vascular dementia (VD).

Design:  A case-control study in which differences between men and women were explored using regression models to control for the potentially confounding effects of age, education, duration of dementia, and severity of dementia.

Setting:  Alzheimer's Disease Research Center Consortium of Los Angeles and Orange Counties, California. Subjects: Volunteers, recruited from the community or clinic referrals, who met clinical criteria for AD (n=159) or VD (n=117) or met criteria for control status without dementia (n=134).

Main Outcome Measures:  Five neuropsychological measures, commonly used in the diagnosis and assessment of dementia.

Results:  Women with VD scored lower than men with VD on 3 tests. However, when controlling for potential confounds, the gender difference was maintained only for the semantic memory task. Women with AD showed a strong trend to perform worse than men with AD on the test of semantic memory only. No gender differences were found among subjects without dementia.

Conclusions:  Findings support the existence of a semantic memory deficit for women with AD and suggest that a similar deficit may exist among women with VD.

Add or change institution