Earlier studies showed that estrogen with or without added progestin increased the risk for developing dementia and cognitive decline, or difficulty with thinking skills and memory in women age 65 and older.
These new studies aimed to look at how the hormones might affect memory and thinking skills. The studies involved participants of the Women’s Health Initiative hormone therapy clinical trials who also agreed to participate in a substudy called the Women’s Health Initiative Memory Study. These studies were stopped earlier than planned when researchers found that the hormone therapy increased health risks and failed to prevent heart disease.
Researchers took MRI brain scans of 1,400 women ages 71 to 89 one to four years after the Women’s Health Initiative hormone studies ended. They found women who had taken estrogen with or without progestin had smaller brain volumes in two areas of the brain than the women who had taken a placebo. Brain volume was 2.37 cubic centimeters lower in the frontal lobe in the women taking estrogen and .10 cubic centimeters lower in the hippocampus. Both areas are involved in thinking and memory skills, and loss of volume in the hippocampus is a risk factor for dementia.
“These effects were most apparent in women who may already have had some memory problems before they started taking hormones,” said study author Susan Resnick, PhD, of the National Institute on Aging in Baltimore, MD. “This suggests that estrogen may adversely affect thinking skills among women whose brains may already be beginning a neurodegenerative disease process.”
In the second study, researchers found that hormone therapy was not linked to an increase in volumes of small vascular lesions in the brain or “silent strokes” that are often the first sign of cerebrovascular disease. “This was not what we expected to find,” said study author Laura H. Coker, PhD, of Wake Forest University Health Sciences in Winston-Salem, NC. Coker said the negative effects of hormone therapy on cognitive skills may not be related primarily to vascular disease but to neurodegeneration, which is supported by the first study’s findings of brain atrophy.
The Women’s Health Initiative, a major 15-year research program designed to address the most frequent causes of death, disability and poor quality of life in postmenopausal women, is funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. The memory study was also funded in part by Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
The American Academy of Neurology, an association of more than 21,000 neurologists and neuroscience professionals, is dedicated to improving patient care through education and research. A neurologist is a doctor with specialized training in diagnosing, treating and managing disorders of the brain and nervous system such as multiple sclerosis, restless legs syndrome, Alzheimer’s disease, narcolepsy, and stroke.
Rachel Seroka | American Academy of Neurology
Correct connections are crucial
26.06.2017 | Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin
One gene closer to regenerative therapy for muscular disorders
01.06.2017 | Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center
An international team of scientists has proposed a new multi-disciplinary approach in which an array of new technologies will allow us to map biodiversity and the risks that wildlife is facing at the scale of whole landscapes. The findings are published in Nature Ecology and Evolution. This international research is led by the Kunming Institute of Zoology from China, University of East Anglia, University of Leicester and the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research.
Using a combination of satellite and ground data, the team proposes that it is now possible to map biodiversity with an accuracy that has not been previously...
Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.
Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...
Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.
As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...
Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.
With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...
Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine
Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...
19.06.2017 | Event News
13.06.2017 | Event News
13.06.2017 | Event News
27.06.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering
27.06.2017 | Information Technology
27.06.2017 | Physics and Astronomy