Menopause causes metabolic changes in the brain that may increase the
risk of developing the neurodegenerative disease
- Study finds
physiological connection between menopause and Alzheimer's.
- Metabolic changes
in the brain during menopause may increase risk for Alzheimer's.
levels of glucose metabolism observed in key brain regions in menopausal women.
Alzheimer's, a team from Weill Cornell Medicine and the University of Arizona
Health Sciences has shown in the new study. The study also helps solve a
mystery about why women are more susceptible to Alzheimer's disease than men.
The findings are published in PLoS One.
for long has been known to cause neurological problems including depression,
anxiety and insomnia. This new
study has established that metabolic changes
during the menopausal period may increase the risk of Alzheimer's
. While scientists believe that most symptoms are caused due
to decline in estrogen levels, the new findings open ways to develop efficient
detection and intervention techniques to reduce the risk.
Overview of the Study Positron emission tomography
(PET) imaging technique was used to measure the use of glucose-- fuel source
for cellular activity--in the brains of 43 healthy women aged 40 to 60. Among
them, 15 were pre-menopausal, 14 were transitioning to menopause
(peri-menopausal) and 14 were menopausal.
‘Lower levels of glucose metabolism in several key brain regions have been observed in menopausal and peri-menopausal women.’
"This study suggests there may be a critical window of opportunity,
when women are in their 40s and 50s, to detect metabolic signs of higher
Alzheimer's risk and apply strategies to reduce that risk," said lead
author Dr. Lisa Mosconi.
who had undergone menopause or those in the transition period had markedly
lower levels of glucose metabolism in several key brain regions than those
who were pre-menopausal.
and peri-menopausal showed lower levels of mitochondrial cytochrome
oxidase activity, an important metabolic enzyme.
groups of women also scored lower on standard memory tests.
findings show that the loss of estrogen in menopause doesn't just diminish
fertility," said Dr. Mosconi, associate director of the Alzheimer's
Prevention Clinic at Weill Cornell Medicine and NewYork-Presbyterian. "It
also means the loss of a key neuroprotective element in the female brain and a
higher vulnerability to brain aging and Alzheimer's disease.
research team suggests that the results may eventually lead to the development
of screening tests and early interventions to reverse or slow the observed
We need to understand that while menopause may have increased risks for
Alzheimer's disease, menopause is a natural process of aging. It is important
that we understand the associated risks and take steps to prevent the worse
turn of events.
Exercising to keep the brain young and healthy as well as consuming
foods rich in antioxidants like flaxseeds will boost estrogen production, minimizing
the harmful side effects of menopause.
- Overview - Menopause - (http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseasesconditions/menopause/symptoms-causes/syc-20353397)