A new study shows that estrogen therapy does not decrease, but may increase, the risk for dementia in postmenopausal women, say researchers .Previous studies have reported an association between postmenopausal estrogen use and lower risk of dementia.
A placebo-controlled trial of estrogen or estrogen plus progestin in women aged 65 to 79 years looked at associated risk for dementia. In the estrogen-only trial, researchers found 47 participants were diagnosed with probable dementia, of whom 28 were assigned to receive estrogen. During follow-up, the incidence of dementia was 49-percent higher among women receiving estrogen only compared to those receiving placebo. Similar results were found in the estrogen-plus-progestin trial. Researchers say these findings showed only slightly lower-than-average cognitive function, but when data from the two trials were pooled, the overall risk for probable dementia was significantly increased by 76 percent.
Thus researchers conclude that the use of hormone therapy to prevent dementia or [mild cognitive impairment] in women 65 years of age or older is not recommended and they say that more research is required to confirm their findings.