In a study published in the journal BMC Psychology, researchers in Norway investigated 37,405 men and women aged 30 years and older. Participants were asked nice questions about their memory, including whether they had problems with recall or their ability has changed with age. The results showed that for eight out of nine questions, men reported the most problems.
The researchers found that memory problems increased with age. But in all age groups, men reported more memory problems than women. Furthermore, the investigators were surprised to find that younger men forget just as much as older men.
As for why these differences exist in regards to memory ability, researchers suggest it may be linked to men’s higher prevalence for cardiovascular disease risk, such as high blood pressure or high body mass index. These risk factors may trigger forms of neurodegeneration, but the reasons behind these gender differences are still unclear.
“We have speculated a lot about why men report more frequent problems with remembering than women do, but have not been able to find an explanation. This is still an unsolved mystery,” said lead author Prof. Jostein Holmen of the Norwegian University of Science and Technology.
The researchers say they plan to carry out further studies to determine whether individuals who report having memory problems at a younger age may have an increased risk of developing dementia.
However, there are several ways to improve memory and reduce the risk of dementia. These include stay physically and mentally active, avoid saturated fat and cholesterol, and eat more brain healthy foods, such as bell peppers, Brussels sprouts, carrots, cranberries, eggplant, grapes, sweet potatoes and dark green vegetables.