Hormone therapy may prevent — or contribute to — dementia risk

Los Angeles Times

By Shari Roan, Los Angeles Times

November 18, 2010|11:47 a.m.

Hormone therapy appears to affect the brain differently depending on the age of the woman when she receives it, researchers reported Thursday.

Hormone-replacement therapy for women has been the subject of considerable debate. Studies have shown both pros and cons. But hormone use has declined in the last decade because a major study on the issue, the Women’s Health Initiative, found that the risks of taking hormones appeared to outweigh significantly the benefits in older postmenopausal women. Among the findings was that beginning hormone therapy in women ages 65 and older led to a twofold higher risk of dementia.

Questions remain about the affect of hormones if taken at a younger age — among perimenopausal (the phase before menopause when hormones decline and fluctuate) or menopausal women in their early 50s. The¬† new study, published in the Annals of Neurology, supports the idea that hormones can affect dementia risk differently depending on the age of the woman when she takes them.

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Author: Leslie Carol Botha

Author, publisher, radio talk show host and internationally recognized expert on women's hormone cycles. Social/political activist on Gardasil the HPV vaccine for adolescent girls. Co-author of "Understanding Your Mood, Mind and Hormone Cycle." Honorary advisory board member for the Foundation for the Study of Cycles and member of the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research.