Studying Effects of Gender and Sex in Alzheimer Disease: Jessica Caldwell, PhD


The director of The Women’s Alzheimer’s Movement Prevention Center at Cleveland Clinic discussed her recently awarded NIH grant and her work to understand why women are more likely to be impacted by Alzheimer disease.

"The research needs to focus on a number of different things, including whether or not we are inviting people to the research in the same way. Lots of studies have shown that White people come to the research because they’re recruited through the clinic while non-White people get recruited because we’re supposed to recruit non-White people. It’s a very different way to sample people in terms of their concerns and risks."

Although it has been previously documented that the frequency of Alzheimer disease (AD) dementia is higher in women, sex differences in the incidence of AD dementia are less than clear. To better understand the effects of gender and sex in AD, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) awarded a 4-year, $1.8-million grant to Jessica Caldwell, PhD, director, Women’s Alzheimer’s Movement Prevention Center, Cleveland Clinic. The grant marked the 1-year anniversary of the center’s opening, which was the first prevention center designed specifically for women.

Caldwell will use the grant to study how gender-linked stress exposure and estrogen may interact to impact memory, inflammation in the body, and brain activation and connectivity in women at risk for AD. She hopes that the findings will help to inform development of interventions targeting stress and inflammation to reduce AD risk.

In an interview with NeurologyLive, Caldwell discussed the details of the grant and how it will be utilized. She also provided insight on some of the biggest remaining questions regarding the impact of genetics and sex in AD risk and prevalence.

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