Alzheimer's disease (AD) is the most common form of dementia and results in progressive cognitive decline, particularly in regards to memory (National Institute on Aging, 2012). Prior research has shown sex differences in brain-atrophy rates of AD patients, with women experiencing a higher rate of progression in volume reduction (Skup et al., 2011). This suggests that there may also be differences in cognitive functioning between sexes, particularly in the rate of cognitive decline with a more rapid disease progression for dementing females compared to dementing males. The current study monitored memory function longitudinally in approximately 200 total participants, 100 with Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) or probable AD and 100 healthy controls enrolled in an aging study through the Arizona Alzheimer's Disease Research Consortium. Memory performance was evaluated with two memory tests, the Rey Auditory Verbal Learning Test (RAVLT; Rey, 1941) and the Brief Visuospatial Memory Test-Revised (BVMT-R; Benedict, 1997). Memory function was evaluated in participants with at least three data points over a five-year span. A multivariate regression model was used that includes controls for disease severity, age, age at disease onset, education, ethnicity, and medical comorbidities. Results indicated that females in the MCI and AD groups initially performed better than the males, but that over time, female scores had dropped significantly lower than male scores, suggesting a more rapid decline in females. Significant sex differences in cognitive decline may yield a deeper understanding of the development and progression of AD and aid in more effective and sex-specific treatment.



College and Department

Family, Home, and Social Sciences; Psychology



Date Submitted


Document Type





mild cognitive impairment, Alzheimer's disease, sex differences, memory



Included in

Psychology Commons