April 18th, 2008
01:01 PM ET

Science and a man's brain

By Val Willingham
Medical Producer

I have often wondered why my husband can remember how many touchdowns the Miami Dolphins scored in 1972, but will forget to bring home bread after work, even though I reminded him that very morning. Or why my father can recall the names of all his buddies during the campaign of Okinawa during World War II, but still doesn't know my mother likes daffodils and not carnations for her birthday. Scientists say it's all in the brain and men just can't help it, because gender plays a big part on what we recall and what we don't.

Studies over the years have found men and women don't think the same (no surprise there). Men's and women's brains process things differently. In a large study conducted a few years ago, published in Sex Roles: A Journal of Research, investigators found that males are more likely to remember stats, numbers and non-emotional stuff, whereas females recall things from their childhood, their first kiss, colors, seasons of the year. Men are good at directions and women are better at working on grocery lists. That certainly explains the bread issue.

And as we age, men are more likely to have problems with memory and thinking skills. New research out of this week's American Academy of Neurology annual meeting showed men tend to have mild cognitive impairment earlier in life then women. That means they begin to forget sooner and dementia starts to set in. The study which looked at 2,000 older men, found males were 1 1/2 times more likely to have memory problems than women, regardless of their education or marital status. And doctors say that's odd because data show that when it comes to the number of cases of dementia in this country; men and women are pretty equal. So physicians think although men forget sooner, they forget for a longer period of time, while the female memory has a faster decline.

Do you agree that men and women differ on what they remember? We'd like to hear from you!

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Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.