Men More Likely Than Women to Experience Memory Loss

A new study shows that men are more likely to experience memory loss as they age.A new study shows that men are more likely to experience memory loss as they age.Is your husband or boyfriend tuning you out, or did they actually just forget what you said? A new study shows that men are more likely than women to develop mild memory loss as they get older, leading to dementia and Alzhimer's disease.

Related: How to prevent memory loss

According to "The Incidence of MCI Differs by Subtype and is Higher in Men," published Wednesday in the journal "Neurology," researchers from the Mayo Clinic followed 1,450 senior citizens for three years. Participants took memory tests every 15 months, and by the end of the trial 7.2 percent of men and 5.7 percent of women had developed Mild Cognitive Impairment, or MCI.

"The condition appears to affect men and those who only have a high school education more than women and those who have completed some higher education," a Mayo Clinic report said.

But that doesn't mean that women aren't out of the woods when it comes to memory loss. "Women may develop risk factors for MCI at a later age, but the effects may be more severe when they occur," Dr. Rosebud Roberts, the lead researcher for the study, cautioned. "Women may ... progress faster to dementia, or they may progress to dementia without being diagnosed at the MCI stage."

MCI is a syndrome, not a specific disease, Dr. Claudia Kawas, a professor in the department of neurology and neurobiology and behavior at the University of California, Irvine, told ABC News. "It is often due to early Alzheimer's disease but can also be due to strokes, vitamin deficiencies, thyroid disease, drugs including prescription ones, alcohol or just not feeling well that day," she said.

"We've always suspected that there are many people who do not have a diagnosis in the community who are living at this level of cognitive impairment," Bill Thies, chief medical and scientific officer at the Alzheimer's Association, told ABC. "The study suggests that we should have increasing concern about people living in the community with cognitive problems. We're only seeing the tip of the iceberg." Diagnoses are expected to rise as more Baby Boomers age.

Wondering if your sweetheart is ignoring you, or if he's just forgotten what you asked him to do? According to the Mayo Clinic, some of the signs of MCI are:

  • Difficulty learning and remembering new information
  • Difficulty solving problems or making decisions
  • Forgetting recent events or conversations
  • Taking longer to perform complex or difficult mental activities

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