Longer hormone therapy associated with better cognitive status in women

Increasingly, the reduction of estrogen levels during the transition to menopause is highlighted in terms of overall brain health, especially cognitive function, and cognitive decline. In order to counteract this reduction, so-called “hormone therapy” is increasingly used. A new study published during the menopause points to a longer time window for the use of hormone therapy.

Among other things, it is suspected that estrogens can play a role in increasing the risk of Alzheimer’s disease in women, considering, for example, that two-thirds of the 5.5 million cases of Alzheimer’s disease in the USA are caused by women. Previous studies have also highlighted the role of estrogen in learning and memory.

In this new study, researchers analyzed data from 2000 postmenopausal women followed for 12 years. The results showed, according to the press release presenting the study, that increased estrogen exposure could be associated with a better cognitive status in adult women. In addition, researchers found that women who started hormone therapy earlier had higher cognitive status in cognitive tests than women who started hormone therapy later.

Stephanie Faubion, Medical Director of the North American Menopause Society (NAMS), comments on these findings in the press release: “Although the risk-benefit assessment of the use of hormone therapies is complicated and needs to be adjusted, this study provides further evidence of the positive cognitive effects of hormone therapy, especially when initiated immediately after menopause. This study also highlights the potential effect of early estrogen deficiency on cognitive health associated with premature or early menopause without adequate estrogen replacement.”