A simple blood test to identify if men have lost crucial genetic material in later life could finally close the gap in life expectancy between men and women, scientists believe. New research shows that when men lose their Y sex chromosome they are hundreds of times more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease.

Previous research has shown that smoking hugely increases the risk of losing the Y chromosome, suggesting that the missing genetic material may also be linked to cancer. It is thought that Y chromosome is crucial for the normal function of the immune system and without it the body struggles to eliminate cancerous cells, and amyloid plaques in the brain which cause Alzheimer’s disease. READ MORE