Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Early Short-Term Use of Estrogen Has No Effect on Cognition, Study Finds

A randomized clinical trial of estrogen therapy in younger postmenopausal women, those aged 50-55, has found no long-term risk or benefit to cognitive function. The study, reported in JAMA Internal Medicine yesterday looked at women taking conjugated equine estrogens, the most common type of postmenopausal hormone therapy in the U.S. The earlier Women's Health Initiative Memory Study (WHIMS) had linked the same type of hormone therapy to cognitive decline and dementia in older postmenopausal women.

The new findings come from the Women's Health Initiative Memory Study of Younger Women (WHIMSY) and were reported by Mark Espeland, Ph.D., of Wake Forest School of Medicine on behalf of the academic research centers involved in the study. The study was funded primarily by the National Institute on Aging (NIA) and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, components of the National Institutes of Health.

"In contrast to findings in older postmenopausal women, this study tells women that taking these types of estrogen-based hormone therapies for a relatively short period of time in their early postmenopausal years may not put them at increased risk for cognitive decline over the long term," said Susan Resnick, Ph.D., chief of the NIA's Laboratory of Behavioral Neuroscience and a co-author of the study. "Further, it is important to note that we did not find any cognitive benefit after long-term follow-up."

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