Sex differences in dementia and response to a lifestyle intervention: Evidence from Nordic population-based studies and a prevention trial

Alzheimers Dement. 2021 Jul;17(7):1166-1178. doi: 10.1002/alz.12279.


Introduction: Evidence on sex differences in the risk for dementia has been mixed. The goal was to assess sex differences in the development of dementia, and in the effects of a lifestyle intervention.

Methods: Two strategies were adopted, one using combined data from three large Nordic population-based cohort studies (n = 2289), adopting dementia as outcome, and 2-year multidomain lifestyle intervention (n = 1260), adopting cognitive change as outcome.

Results: There was higher risk for dementia after age 80 years in women. The positive effects of the lifestyle intervention on cognition did not significantly differ between men and women. Sex-specific analyses suggested that different vascular, lifestyle, and psychosocial risk factors are important for women and men in mid- and late-life.

Conclusion: Women had higher risk for dementia among the oldest individuals. Lifestyle interventions may be effectively implemented among older men and women.

Keywords: cohort study; dementia; lifestyle intervention; risk factors; sex differences.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Dementia / prevention & control*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Life Style*
  • Male
  • Risk Factors
  • Scandinavian and Nordic Countries
  • Sex Factors