Women are at a significantly higher risk than men of developing Alzheimer’s disease. So are people who carry a particular variant of a gene that everyone has, called APOE.

With a $300,000 research grant from the Alzheimer’s Association, a team of scientists, led by Professor Karyn Frick at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, will dive into why women with two variants of the APOE gene are more protected from Alzheimer’s when they take estrogen therapy, while those with a third variant aren’t.

Almost two-thirds of Americans with Alzheimer’s are women, according to the Alzheimer’s Association 2022 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures. The hormone estrogen protects the brain cells that create and store memories, but estrogen levels decline during menopause, leaving women’s brains more vulnerable to the disease.

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