Estrogen is thought to increase the risk of Alzheimer’s disease in women

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Estrogen is thought to play a role in a woman’s risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease (AD), according to a new study

Alzheimer’s disease (AD) represents 60% to 70% of all dementia diagnoses and approximately two-thirds of those with AD are women.

A new study has examined the association between a woman’s reproductive life span as an indicator of endogenous estrogen exposure and levels of cerebrospinal fluid biomarkers.

During the study, a small sampling of women who were free of dementia and underwent natural menopause were followed for 25 years.

Cerebrospinal fluid samples

Based on the results from the cerebrospinal fluid samples, researchers concluded that a longer reproductive life was associated with increased levels of AD biomarkers in the preclinical phase of the disease.

“This small population-based study showed an association between duration of the reproductive life span (a surrogate marker for exposure to endogenous estrogen) and biomarkers of Alzheimer disease in the cerebrospinal fluid of women without dementia. This finding needs to be confirmed in larger studies but may be another factor contributing to the increased burden of Alzheimer disease in women that, at least in part, likely relates to ageing and the longer life expectancy in women compared with men,” says Dr Stephanie Faubion, NAMS medical director.

The study results have been published online in the article “Reproductive period and preclinical cerebrospinal fluid markers for Alzheimer disease: a 25-year study” in Menopause, the journal of The North American Menopause Society (NAMS).


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