Victor W. Henderson

Publication Details

  • Action of estrogens in the aging brain: Dementia and cognitive aging BIOCHIMICA ET BIOPHYSICA ACTA-GENERAL SUBJECTS Henderson, V. W. 2010; 1800 (10): 1077-1083


    Menopause is associated with sharp declines in concentrations of circulating estrogens. This change in hormone milieu has the potential to affect brain functions relevant to dementia and cognitive aging.Focused review of published results of randomized clinical trials of estrogen-containing hormone therapy for Alzheimer's disease treatment and dementia prevention, observational research on cognition across the menopause transition, and observational research on the association of hormone therapy and Alzheimer's disease risk.Clinical trial evidence supports conclusions that estrogen therapy does not improve dementia symptoms in women with Alzheimer's disease and that estrogen-containing hormone therapy initiated after about age 65 years increases dementia risk. Hormone therapy begun in this older postmenopausal group does not ameliorate cognitive aging. Cognitive outcomes of midlife hormone exposures are less well studied. There is no strong indication of short-term cognitive benefit of hormone use after natural menopause, but clinical trial data are sparse. Little research addresses midlife estrogen use after surgical menopause; limited clinical trial data imply short-term benefit of prompt initiation at the time of oophorectomy. Whether exogenous estrogen exposures in the early postmenopause affect Alzheimer risk or cognitive aging much later in life is unanswered by available data. Observational results raise the possibility of long-term cognitive benefit, but bias is a concern in interpreting these findings.Estrogen-containing hormone therapy should not be initiated after age 65 to prevent dementia or remediate cognitive aging. Further research is needed to understand short-term and long-term cognitive effects of estrogen exposures closer to the age of menopause.

    View details for DOI 10.1016/j.bbagen.2009.11.005

    View details for Web of Science ID 000281932800006

    View details for PubMedID 19913598

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