Revue de neuropsychologie


The interactions between sex, age-related cognitive performance, and neuropsychiatric symptoms Volume 13, issue 1, Janvier-Février-Mars 2021


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1 Centre de recherche de l’Institut universitaire de gériatrie de Montréal, CIUSSS du CSMTL, M1861, 4545 Chemin Queen Mary, Montréal, QC H3W 1W6, Québec, Canada
2 Faculté de Médecine, Département de Médecine, Université de Montréal, Québec, Canada
3 Faculté des Arts et des Sciences, Département de Psychologie, Université de Montréal, Québec, Canada
* Correspondance


This review provides a brief state of knowledge on the relations between sex, neuropsychiatric symptoms, and cognitive decline, as well as the influence of sex on different clinical stages of cognitive decline.

Theoretical background

Age-related cognitive decline, during normal and pathological aging, differs between women and men. For instance, women are more at risk to develop Alzheimer's disease. Consequently, neuropsychiatric symptoms, a risk factor for cognitive decline, are influenced differently by sex. Women show more agitation, delusions, anxiety, and irritability, while men manifest more impulsivity and loss of motivation. The impact on cognition is also different. In women, for each year since the beginning of cognitive impairment, the severity of delusions increases, while men will have more severe irritability.


Currently, there is little data on the cognitive impact of neuropsychiatric symptoms based on sex. However, current results demonstrate that the duration of cognitive decline is different in women compared to men. This line of research therefore requires further study to understand these interactions.