Women have a few advantages over men in life, including longer life expectancies, and new research is showing they outperform men in another area: women who suffer from mild cognitive impairment (MCI), were shown to have a better verbal memory than men.

The study, conducted by a collaboration of American researchers and published in Neurology, found women diagnosed with MCI had a better memory for words than men with MCI when their brain scans were compared, according to a news release. MCI has symptoms that are similar to dementia, such as issues relating to memory and thinking, but they aren't severe enough to be called dementia. However, it does increase a patient's chances of being diagnosed with dementia in the future, according to the press release.

“This study highlights differences in memory performance between men and women, at a stage when they may be developing early signs of dementia. While better verbal memory in women may seem advantageous and could reflect an innate resilience to damage in the brain, it may also mask symptoms of early dementia that could delay diagnosis until a later stage in women,” Dr. Rosa Sancho, the Head of Research at Alzheimer’s Research UK, which was not involved in the study, said in the release. The researcher’s objective, as stated in the study, was to identify any differences regarding verbal memory between genders in various cognitive states.

Researchers gathered data from 1,316 individuals: 390 healthy elderly people (101 women, 153 men), 254 Alzheimer’s patients (196 women, 194 men); and 672 people with MCI (276 women, 396 men). To measure how healthy the subject’s brains were, researchers looked at their brain scans.

If they found normal levels of energy being used in the brain, it would be considered healthy. On the other hand, lower energy levels indicate dysfunctional nerve cells, resulting in memory and thinking issues. Reduced energy levels also resulted in poor verbal memory performance. Subjects were also given a verbal memory test, and researchers then compared those results against the energy levels they observed in the subjects' brains, according to the press release.

After comparing the brains of women to men with MCI, the researchers found women did better on the verbal memory tests than men.

“While this study only represents one snapshot in time and doesn't provide insight into how or why men and women's memory performance changes over time, it highlights the potential importance of gender differences in understanding dementia. Last year Alzheimer's Research UK launched a report highlighting potential differences in how women and men express the symptoms of dementia and this study supports the need for further research in this area,” Dr. Sancho said in the release.

Read more: Alzheimer's vs. Dementia: How They Differ And What To Do

Sundermann E, Maki P, Rubin L, Lipton R, Landau S Biegon A. Female advantage in verbal memory. Neurology. 2016