Taking estrogen early in menopause could cut dementia risk, study finds

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Research has long suggested a link between the use of hormone therapy during menopause and the risk of developing dementia. Photo: Pexels


(Claire Bugos/ Very Well Health) — Nearly two-thirds of the people who develop Alzheimer’s disease are women. For decades, researchers have sought to understand whether the loss of estrogen during menopause could be a major reason and whether hormone therapy could decrease women’s risk for dementia.

In a meta-analysis published last week, a team of researchers sought to make sense of the existing data on the link between menopause hormone therapy and dementia and to see if they pointed to an overall trend.1 They included six randomized control trials and 45 observational reports, accounting for the experiences of more than 6 million women.

The researchers found that hormone therapy can help protect against Alzheimer’s disease development in women who take estrogen hormone therapy in midlife, or as close as possible to the onset of menopause.

However, the protective benefit was notable for women who took estrogen-only therapy, which is typically reserved for people who have their ovaries or uterus removed. People who have a uterus are often recommended to take combination hormone therapy—estrogen and progestogen—to protect against uterine cancer. But this therapy doesn’t seem to reduce dementia risk. (…)

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