Elsevier is about to publish an article that is a little bit troubling: Some individuals with Alzheimer’s  are taking cholinesterase inhibitors [7], and the benefits seem to be strongly gender dependent:

Among women, a higher PI (i.e., greater duration of use) of cholinesterase inhibitors was associated with slower progression... In contrast, higher PI was associated with faster progression in males…

The article does not seem to propose an explanation for this strong difference brought about by gender.

So what are cholinesterase inhibitors? To get better understanding we bring you a link to an article in anesthesiology [2] about a drug of that class, namely Donezepril. Donezepril dilates brain arterioles , bring more blood to the various brain neurons and their supporting glial cells. No wonder Natural Medicine proponents want Alzheimer’s people to take Ginkgo Biloba, which is also supposed to facilitate blood flow.


Alzheimer's: Is there a gender difference in the treatments??


Brain vasodilatation has also been shown for another drug, Propofol,  used for anesthesia,.  Propofol has been shown to also help for cognition issues brought about by Diabetes and high glucose. [3]. But for Alzheimer’s the picture is different:  Propofol has been linked to bring about Alzheimer’s. So vasodilatation is probably not the whole story.

Coming back to Alzheimer’s,  the gender issue it is known to play a role [5], with women more likely to express the symptoms than men  [5]. Moreover a comparative study of curcumin, memantine and diclofenac against scopolamine-induced memory dysfunction had two main conclusions:

  1. The preventive activity of curcumin on memory dysfunction was higher than that of diclofenac or memantine
  2. Here again Gender differences were observed.

This gender difference seems to matter often for Alzheimer’s and dementia, and the drugs to fight them. Talk to your Doctor about it.

[1] Ministry of health -British Columbia;  cholinesterase inhibitors ;

[2] Anesthesiology ; Donezepil ; “Cholinesterase inhibitor donepezil dilates cerebral parenchymal arterioles via the activation of neuronal nitric oxide synthase.” 2008

[3] Anesthesiology ; “Propofol restores brain microvascular function impaired by high glucose via the decrease in oxidative stress.”; 2008

[4] Ivanhoe ; “Anesthetics may Increase Risk of Alzheimer’s Disease” ; 2006

[5] MedicalNewsToday ; “Gender may play role in Alzheimer’s disease”; 2005

[6] Fitoterapia ;”Comparative protective action of curcumin, memantine and diclofenac against scopolamine-induced memory dysfunction.” ;2011

[7] Elsevier ; “Effects of Food and Drug Administration-approved medications for Alzheimer’s disease on clinical progression”, Feb. 2012


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