Alzheimer’s Disease network

Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive, disabling degenerative disorder of the brain. More than 6 million Americans are currently living with Alzheimer’s disease, and the majority of them are women.

Additionally, while Alzheimer’s is the eighth leading cause of death for men, it is the fifth leading cause of death for women. A growing body of research confirms that biological sex plays a role in disease risk, as well as presentation and progression of dementia. Scientists are exploring the causes of these sex disparities, but we still do not understand much about the role sex plays in etiology and prognosis.

SWHR’s Alzheimer’s Disease Network is working to raise awareness about these biological sex disparities and create recommendations for future research and policies related to women’s health and Alzheimer’s disease.

Network Goals

SWHR’s Alzheimer’s Disease Network is a diverse group of researchers and health care providers working to:

  • Demonstrate the benefit of expanding research on sex and gender disparities within the areas of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Identify gaps in the literature that may cause important Alzheimer’s-related sex disparities to be overlooked by both providers and patients.
  • Investigate the role of biological sex hormones in Alzheimer’s disease etiology, prognosis, and symptom treatment.

Our Work

Check out our latest publications, policy engagement, and scientific discussions.

Women’s Cognitive & Brain Health Forum
Join Springboard Enterprises, the Women's Health Innovation Coalition, and Accenture at our Women’s Cognitive & Brain Health Forum on June 30 at 11am ET.
June 30 @ 11:00 am - 2:00 pm EDT
Policy Engagement
SWHR Letter to ICER on Draft Evidence Report for Alzheimer’s Drug Aducanumab
In a letter to the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review (ICER), SWHR expressed concern over the methodology and conclusions of ICER's Effectiveness and Value Draft Evidence Report for aducanumab, a new potential treatment of Alzheimer’s disease (AD). 
Biological Sex Differences in Alzheimer’s Preclinical Research: A Call to Action
The SWHR Alzheimer’s Disease Network published a peer-reviewed commentary stating that better integration of sex as a biological variable could open new doors in treatment research.
Policy Engagement
SWHR Input to ICER on Assessment of New Alzheimer’s Disease Treatment
SWHR provided open input to the Institute for Clinical and Economic Review (ICER) on contextual considerations surrounding Alzheimer’s disease and its treatment from a women’s health perspective.
Policy Engagement
SWHR Comments to NIA on Alzheimer’s Research Gaps and Opportunities
SWHR provided feedback in response to the National Institute of Aging’s request for information regarding Alzheimer’s and dementia-related research gaps and opportunities.
Policy Engagement
SWHR Comments on AHRQ Draft Report on Dementia Caregiving
SWHR provided comments on the Care Interventions of People with Dementia and for their Caregivers draft report by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.
Policy Engagement
SWHR Feedback to Senate Finance Health Subcommittee on Alzheimer’s Research Priorities
SWHR sent comments to the Senate Finance Subcommittee on Health Care in response to the its call for feedback related to Alzheimer’s disease research and treatment.
Why Sex Matters in Alzheimer’s Disease
In this commentary for the Association for Women in Science Magazine, SWHR highlights how differences between women and men most likely play a role in Alzheimer's disease.
Alzheimer’s Hits Men and Women Differently, and We Need to Understand Why
Looking at sex and gender differences in Alzheimer's will greatly enhance our understanding of this disease and improve health outlooks for all, SWHR writes in this commentary in Scientific American.
Studying Sex Differences Will Improve Health for Women and Men
In this commentary for STAT, SWHR highlights the need to study differences between women and men in health and disease, pointing to Alzheimer's as a prime example.
Understanding the Impact of Sex and Gender in Alzheimer’s Disease: A Call to Action
To prevent and treat Alzheimer’s disease, scientists need to better understand how the disease differs between women and men, according to SWHR's peer-reviewed paper in journal Alzheimer's & Dementia.
Priority Areas for Future Research on Sex and Gender in Alzheimer’s Disease
This PowerPoint slide deck by SWHR’s Alzheimer's Disease Network highlights the 12 priority areas for future sex and gender differences research in Alzheimer's disease.
Sex and Gender Differences in Alzheimer’s Disease
A growing body of evidence shows that Alzheimer’s disease differs between women and men. SWHR's second interdisciplinary roundtable on Alzheimer's explored trends in research on sex and gender differences in the disease.
May 28, 2015 - May 29, 2015


Program Director

Melissa Laitner, PhD, MPH, Society for Women’s Health Research

Network Members

Pauline Maki, PhD, University of Illinois – Chicago (Network Chair)
Michelle Mielke, PhD, Mayo Clinic (Network Co-Chair)
Neelum Aggarwal, MD, Rush University
Lisa Barnes, PhD, Rush University

Kejal Kantarci, MD, MS Mayo Clinic
Elizabeth Mormino, PhD, Stanford University
Haung Yu, PhD, Columbia University
Jill Goldstein, PhD, Harvard Medical School


Sponsorship of this network does not imply agreement with any content and/or comments presented by the members during network proceedings.