Video: A discussion on women, brain health and dementia

By 2050, it is estimated that over 1.7 million Canadians will have dementia – and that roughly 60% of them will be women. How does gender impact dementia risk and symptoms? This March 20, 2024, event offered a free online chat about key facts to know.

Research shows that in high-income countries, women experience dementia at a higher rate than men do. For instance, the number of women who will develop dementia in Canada is projected to exceed men by almost a two-to-one ratio by 2050.

Because age is a key risk factor for dementia, researchers previously believed that these differences in dementia rates were mainly due to women generally living longer.

But science is now uncovering more to this brain health story.

On March 20 at 12 p.m. Eastern Time we held a conversation about this important, complex and unfolding issue. We talked with people working in this field.

We know that gender can impact:

  • risk factors for developing dementia
  • how symptoms are expressed
  • care needs and caregiving

We also know that:

  • dementia in women tends to progress faster
  • symptomatically, women may present show more depression as a symptom than men do
  • brain health research subjects have typically been men, so it’s unclear whether current therapies and treatments are as effective for women

Speakers included:

Melissa Russo, Program Manager at Brain Canada, moderated.

This event took place in English with live interpretation in French.

Dementia Talks! Canada is a partnership between Alzheimer Society of Canada and Brain Canada. Find out more at or email with any questions.

Links and document shared in the talk chat

Sex, Gender and Dementia: Findings from the Landmark Study Report #2

This printable, three-page infographic features data and research from the Landmark Study Report #2, The Many Faces of Dementia in Canada. This report was released in January 2024, and the infographic developed in February 2024. 

a blue, yellow and white cover page

About the speakers at this talk

Angeleta Cox, Caregiver and Advocate

A woman with brown eyes and black hair smiles

My name is Angeleta Cox and I am the daughter of Sonia Elizabeth Cox. My mother is currently living with early onset Alzheimer's. Mom was diagnosed approximately six years ago and currently resides in a nursing home.

As her main caregiver, I have cared for my Mom both at home and within the nursing home setting. I am a mother of three, a wife and employee, and also a business owner.

What I choose to do is to remember my mom in service. I know that I cannot do much right now in terms of stopping the progression of the disease for my mother. But what I am doing is volunteering with Alzheimer Society of Canada and other organizations to ensure that other people or families who are on the Alzheimer's journey are equipped and supported as they need.

My hope is to share with others my own experience and to help others understand the normalized version of a child who has a parent with Alzheimer's — and what it means to be living with Alzheimer's. My hope is also to tell my story so that others can relate to it and understand that this journey is not one to travelled alone. And that there's always hope, that there's always help.”

Lynn Posluns, President and CEO, Women's Brain Health Initiative

A woman with red hair and hazel eyes smiles

Lynn Posluns is the founder, president, and CEO of Women’s Brain Health Initiative, an organization dedicated to protecting the brain health of women. Since the charity launched in Canada and the U.S. in 2012, Women's Brain Health Initiative has made strides in raising awareness about the inequity in brain aging research for women, in funding that research, and in creating compelling preventative health evidence-informed education programs so there is a greater understanding by the public of the best ways to prolong their cognitive vitality.

Lynn has held several executive positions within the retail and fashion industries and, throughout her career, has raised millions of dollars for many philanthropic causes, focused primarily on the healthcare industry.

Lynn has received numerous awards for her work in philanthropy and giving back to the community, including Women’s Executive Network’s Canada’s Top 100 Most Powerful Women Award, the University of Toronto’s Rotman School of Management’s Top Ten High Achieving Women Award, and the Kurt and Edith Rothschild Humanitarian Award. In 2019 Lynn was presented with an honorary doctorate by York University in Toronto.

In December 2021, Lynn was appointed as a member of the Order of Canada for her contribution to research on cognitive health and aging through the founding of Women's Brain Health Initiative.

Dr. Shafeena Premji, MD, CCFP, MHA, BSc, NCMP 

A woman with brown eyes and long brown hair

Dr. Shafeena Premji is a family physician who has held a North American Menopause Society Menopause Certification since 2015. She is the founder and director of Mahogany Medical Clinic and The Village Medical in Calgary where she offers prenatal care, women's health consultations and a menopause clinic.

Dr. Premji is on the board of directors of the Canadian Menopause Society and is on the medical advisory board of the Menopause Foundation of Canada. She is joining Dementia Talks! Canada to provide insight on how women can support their brain health in midlife and beyond.

Dr. Premji has done several local and national media interviews (radio, print and television) as well as podcast interviews offering her expert advice to women across Canada. Topics she has been called to comment on include women's health, menopause, perimenopause, early menopause, midlife care planning and more.

Dr. Premji completed a master’s degree in health administration (2005–2007) from the University of British Columbia. She then went on to complete medical school (2007–2010) at the University of Calgary, followed by her family medicine residency at Queen’s University. She completed a fellowship in women’s health (2012–2013) at the Shirley E. Greenberg Women’s Health Centre in Ottawa.  

Moderator: Melissa Russo, Program Manager, Brain Canada 

Woman with wavy brown hair, coral shirt and navy jacket

Melissa Russo comes from an educational background in behavioral neuroscience, pharmacology and toxicology, and she brings career experience from industry with knowledge of clinical research ethics and the management of medical education program development.

As a program manager at Brain Canada, Melissa can take advantage of her passion for learning about the brain, her desire to make a positive impact on the research community, and the skills from her combined academic and professional history to support the organization’s vision and mission.