A Closer Look at the Link Between Estrogen Exposure & Cognitive Health

A recently published study from The Journal of The North American Menopause Society concludes that longer endogenous estrogen exposure, as well as post-menopausal hormone therapy use are associated with higher cognitive status in late life. 


The Core Objective of the Cache County Study

This 12-year, population-based study, made up of more than 2,000 older women in Cache County, Utah, examined the association between estrogen and cognitive decline. Women are disproportionately more prone to Alzheimer’s Disease than men, so could a drop in estrogen exposure during/after menopause be a possible cause? And, if so, could increased estrogen exposure during early menopause decrease the risk of the disease? 

While some previous scientific articles debate suggested there may be no link between the two, this research proposes a possible beneficial association between hormone therapy and greater cognitive function in older women. 


Sooner Rather Than Later: Hormone Therapy & the Risk of Alzheimer’s Disease Dementia

In 2012, researchers from the Department of Public Health, Weill Cornell Medical College, reviewed data from 1,768 women in the Cache County Study who had provided a detailed history on age at menopause and use of HT. They took a closer look at the association of hormone therapy with Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) as it pertains to the timing and type of hormone therapy. The study concluded that hormone therapy was possibly beneficial (when it comes to decreasing the risk of AD) if taken during a critical window near menopause, but hormone therapy initiated in later life may be associated with an increased risk of the disease.

The study also concluded that the link between the timing of hormone therapy and Alzheimer’s Disease risk deserved additional consideration. 

Signs That You May Be a Good Candidate for Hormone Replacement Therapy

  • Early menopause (before the age of 40)
  • Premature ovarian insufficiency or early surgical menopause (oophorectomy/removal of the ovaries)
  • Hysterectomy
  • Severe menopausal symptoms (migraines, night sweats, insomnia, routine hot flashes – you can find additional symptoms here)
  • Cognitive decline and bone loss, or a family history of osteoporosis 

Have additional questions about hormone replacement therapy for women or the relationship between HRT and improved cognitive health? 


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