Longer hormone therapy associated with better cognitive status in women

Increasingly the emphasis has been on reducing estrogen levels during the transition to menopause with regard to general brain health, especially cognitive function. To counteract this reduction, more and more often, so-called “hormonal therapy” is used. A new study, published in Menopause, suggests a longer window regarding the use of hormone therapy.

It is suspected, among other things, that estrogens may play a role in raising the risk of Alzheimer’s in women considering that, for example, two-thirds of 5.5 million cases of Alzheimer’s in the United States are women. In addition, previous studies have highlighted the role of estrogen in learning and memory.

In this new study, researchers analyzed data from 2000 post-menopausal women followed for 12 years. The results showed, according to the press release that presented the study, that increased exposure to estrogen could be linked to a better state of cognition in adult women. Furthermore, the researchers discovered that those women who started hormone therapy first showed scores, in cognitive tests, higher than those women who started such therapy later.

Stephanie Faubion, medical director of the North American Menopause Society (NAMS), comments on these findings in the press release: “Although the assessment of the risk-benefit ratio of hormone therapy use is complicated and must be customized, this study provides further evidence of the beneficial cognitive effects of hormone therapy, particularly when started immediately after menopause. This study also highlights the potential effect of early estrogen deprivation on cognitive health in the context of premature or early menopause without adequate estrogen replacement.”