Thursday, January 27, 2011


An influential article in the journal Progress in Neurobiology provided one of the first comprehensive reviews of how estrogen potentially can protect against Alzheimer's disease and other neurological disorders.

The article by senior author Lydia DonCarlos, PhD and colleagues detailed how estrogen "decreases the risk and delays the onset and progression of Alzheimer's disease and schizophrenia, and may also enhance recovery from traumatic neurological injury such as stroke."
Estrogen can protect against dementia and other neurological disorders by decreasing inflammatory responses and by enhancing cells' ability to survive damage. "It's a natural way for the brain to protect itself, since the brain normally makes neuroprotective estrodial in response to injury," DonCarlos said.

But there also are risks. The Women's Health Initiative found that taking estrogen plus progestin increased women's risks of heart disease, blood clots, stroke and breast cancer.

Estrogen hormone therapy in some circumstances may help protect the brains of postmenopausal women from decline, although findings have been inconsistent and controversial. But further studies have suggested that the time in a woman’s life at which the therapy is applied may be critical. Based on the results of a number of studies, several researchers have postulated that hormone therapy during a critical midlife period or “window of opportunity” in a woman’s life could provide protection.

Most studies suggest that estrogen has beneficial effects on cognitive function, DonCarlos added. "But we still have a lot of research to do before recommending the use of estrogens in the clinic for this purpose."

No comments:

Post a Comment