Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started
My Medicine

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

50+: Live Better, Longer

Font Size

Mild Memory Problems May Be More Common in Men

Condition Is Often, But Not Always, a Precursor to Full-Blown Dementia
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

Jan. 25, 2012 -- Men may be more likely than women to experience mild memory or cognition problems. This condition, called mild cognitive impairment (MCI), often comes on before full-blown dementia.

More than just “senior moments,” MCI symptoms may include difficulty remembering recent events and/or new information, as well as problems with language, thinking, or judgment that are greater than age-related changes but not reaching dementia. People with MCI are at greater risk for developing dementia, but not all will develop dementia.

The new study included 1,450 people from Olmsted County, Minn., who were aged 70 to 89 and free of dementia when the study began. Participants took mental tests every 15 months for about three years and were interviewed about their memory. By the end of the study, 296 people developed MCI.

The rate of developing MCI was higher among men than women. Risk of MCI was also increased among people who were less educated and those who were single, the study showed.

Exactly why men seem to develop MCI more than women do is up for debate. “It is possible that women develop MCI later than men and that when they do, it is more severe, so we may miss it because they progress more rapidly to dementia,” says study author R.O. “Rosebud” Roberts. She is an epidemiologist at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.

Some of the strongest risk factors for MCI are the same as those for heart disease -- namely high blood pressure, diabetes, and obesity. “These occur earlier in men than women,” Roberts says.

In light of the new findings, “doctors should have a higher degree of suspicion for MCI in men,” she says.

Prevent MCI and Maybe Dementia, Too

Not everyone with MCI progresses to full-blown dementia, Roberts says.

“People with MCI may be cognitively normal at another stage, they may still have MCI, or they may progress to dementia,” she said. The majority will continue to display MCI symptoms or develop dementia.

“Once it has started, we don’t have any treatments for MCI,” she says.

As such, a lot is riding on preventing MCI, and hopefully dementia, too. “We need to start our efforts to reduce obesity, diabetes, and high blood pressure earlier,” Roberts says. These risks are usually established by middle age.

Today on WebMD

Eating for a longer, healthier life.
woman biking
How to stay vital in your 50s and beyond.
womans finger tied with string
Learn how we remember, and why we forget.
man reviewing building plans
Do you know how to stay healthy as you age?
fast healthy snack ideas
how healthy is your mouth
dog on couch
doctor holding syringe
champagne toast
Two women wearing white leotards back to back
Man feeding woman
two senior women laughing