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On Our Minds is the name of KERA's mental health news initiative. The station began focusing on the issue in 2013, after the mass shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. Coverage is funded in part by the Donna Wilhelm Family Fund and Cigna.

New Alzheimer's Research Explores Why More Women Are Affected

New research presented at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference last month is shedding light on why the disease affects more women than men.

According to the association, two-thirds of Americans living with Alzheimer’s disease are women, and researchers point to a number of factors that could contribute to this discrepancy.

Looking at the biology of the disease, one study points to structural differencesin the brain that can cause Alzheimer's disease to spread more quickly in women than in men.

There are also social factors to consider. Another study suggests that women who were a part of the paid labor force experienced slower cognitive decline than those who weren’t, so working outside the home may have some long-term health benefits for the brain.

The research also points to a higher risk of dementia among LGBTQ Americans. Researchers conducted a phone survey of more than 44,000 people and asked them to report their symptoms. Findings suggest that LGBTQ Americans are 29% more likely than straight, cisgender Americans to face memory loss and confusion, two of the early signs of dementia. 

Syeda Hasan is the Elections Editor and Reporter at KERA. Before moving into that role, she covered mental health at the station. A Houston native, her journalism career has taken her to public radio newsrooms around Texas.