While hormone replacement therapy (HRT) has been found to increase the risk of breast and ovarian cancers, a new study by researchers at John Hopkins University revealed that it can reduce the risk of Alzheimer's disease if taken within a five-year window.
The researchers said that if HRT is taken within five years following the onset of menopause, it can reduce the risk of Alzheimer's by 30 percent but if taken afterwards, it instead increases the chances of dementia. The study has been published in the journal Neurology.
The researchers observed more than 1,700 women aged 65 years and above over a period of 11 years with 1,105 women opting for some form of hormone therapy. During that time, around 176 women developed menopause, of which 87 women had taken HRT. The researchers added that those who had taken HRT in the first five years of their menopause had 30 percent lower risk of developing Alzheimer's.
"Our results suggest that there may be a critical window near menopause where hormone therapy may possibly be beneficial. It doesn't prove the hypothesis. But it does suggest there might be something to that merits further investigation", Peter Zandi, who worked on the study, said.