Identifying women-specific and men-specific risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease

Gael Chetelat, PhD University of Caen-Normandy, France


This project will identify sex-specific risk profiles associated with Alzheimer’s disease, in order to contribute to the development of sex-specific diagnostic procedures for early detection of dementia and of sex-personalized interventions.

Project Details

Our first objective is to determine the risk factors (lifestyle, cardiovascular, psychological) that are associated with pathological hallmarks of AD (neurodegeneration, amyloid, and tau burden) in men and women, separately. For this we will use data from individuals across the AD continuum (from cognitively unimpaired older adults to patients with mild to moderate dementia) and advanced statistical methods, allowing us to relate multiple risk factors to brain alterations. We expect risk profiles to differ between men and women, providing a better characterization of sex differences in AD.

Our second objective is to assess whether these sex-specific risk profiles can predict future cognitive decline and clinical progression. We expect an increased rate of cognitive decline and clinical progression in individuals with higher risk. More specifically, we expect that the risk determined based on sex-specific risk profiles will be more accurate in predicting future decline than a global risk profile, which doesn’t take into account the variability that exists between men and women.

Our third objective is to determine whether the sex-specific risk profiles can be modified by non-pharmacological interventions. More specifically, we will evaluate whether mental training (based either on mediation or foreign language learning) helps modify men and women risk profiles and, in turn, positively impact brain integrity.