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 Estrogen Use Before 65 Linked to Reduced Risk of Alzheimer's

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PostSubject: Estrogen Use Before 65 Linked to Reduced Risk of Alzheimer's   Thu Sep 20, 2007 11:49 pm

Estrogen Use Before 65 Linked to Reduced Risk of Alzheimer's Disease




BOSTON, MA -- May 3, 2007 --



Women who use hormone therapy before the age of 65 could cut their risk
of developing Alzheimer's disease or dementia. This possibility has
been raised by research presented last week at the American Academy of
Neurology's 59th Annual Meeting in Boston.



The study found women who used any form of estrogen hormone therapy
before the age of 65 were nearly 50% less likely to develop Alzheimer's
disease or dementia than women who did not use hormone therapy before
age 65.



The study was part of the Women's Health Initiative Memory Study, which
is a sub-study of the Women's Health Initiative (WHI), one of the
largest U.S. prevention studies of postmenopausal women. The study
looked at prior hormone use in 7,153 healthy women ages 65-79 before
they enrolled in the WHI Memory Study. Researchers followed the women's
cognitive health over an average of five years.



In that time, 106 of the women developed Alzheimer's disease or
dementia. Dementia is a general term referring to the progressive
decline in a person's cognitive function. Dementia can affect memory,
attention, language and problem solving abilities. Alzheimer's is the
most common type of dementia.



Prior studies have shown that hormone therapy started during the WHI
Memory Study increased a woman's chance of dementia. The reduced risk
of dementia was seen only with prior hormone therapy, used before study
enrollment. Reduced risk was not affected by other examined factors.
"We found that it didn't matter how old the woman was when she started
hormone therapy, how long or recently she took it or what kind of prior
therapy she used," said study author Victor W. Henderson, MD, of
Stanford University in Palo Alto, CA, and Fellow of the American
Academy of Neurology.



Women who began estrogen-only therapy after the age of 65 had roughly a
50% increased risk of developing dementia. The risk jumped to nearly
double for women using estrogen-plus-progestin hormone therapy.



"Further studies are needed to support these findings and learn more
about how hormone therapy affects the long-term cognitive health of
women who begin use before age 65," said Henderson.
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