therapy, a type of estrogen therapy, after menopause protects working
memory from the effects of stress.
who took estrogen-only therapy showed lower levels of the stress hormone
cortisol and performed better on "working memory" tests.
positive effects of hormone replacement therapy should be considered along
with its side effects before making the decision to obtain treatment.
Estradiol therapy, a type of hormone replacement therapy
has beneficial effects in some women. A
research team from the University of Southern California has reported that Estradiol therapy, an
estrogen therapy, lowers levels of stress hormone, cortisol, and also mitigates
the effect of stress on working memory in menopausal women. The study findings
are published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism
has several effects on women and one of the most prominent is stress. Previous
studies have shown that stress impairs cognitive abilities including working
memory. This study was conducted to measure the effects of estrogen therapy on
working memory under stress.
Forty two women with an average age of 66 years were recruited from the
USC Early versus Late Intervention Trial with Estradiol led by Howard Hodis, a
professor at the Keck School of Medicine of USC. 50% of these women were on
estradiol for five years and the other half received placebo.
‘Women who were on Estradiol therapy for 5 years after menopause showed lower levels of cortisol, a stress hormone, and also had no problems with working memory.’
In order to induce stress, women were asked to immerse their hand in ice
water for 3 minutes and the control was to immerse hands in warm water. Working
memory was tested using a test called the sentence span task, where women were
given a series of sentences and asked to recall the last word of each of those
sentences. Each woman's saliva was tested before and after the test to measure
cortisol, estrogen and progesterone levels.
While all women performed equally well on the memory test with hands in
warm water, that wasn't the case when the stress was induced. Women who
received the placebo showed a decrease in working memory, as well as a spike in cortisol. On the
other hand, women who were on estradiol showed significantly lower levels of
cortisol and no decrease in working memory.
suggests that estrogen treatment after menopause protects the memory that is
needed for short-term cognitive tasks from the effects of stress," said
Alexandra Ycaza Herrera, the study's lead author and a researcher at the USC
Leonard Davis School of Gerontology.
Hormone replacement therapy (HRT):
Hormone replacement therapy is a treatment that aims to relieve symptoms
of menopause. HRT has constantly been on the forefront for its potential risks
and benefits. While there are several cons to this menopausal treatment,
studies revealing the benefits have been lower. Studies have shown that
combination therapy using estrogen and progesterone has high risks of breast
cancer, stroke, vaginal bleeding and heart diseases. However, it is important
to note that each woman is different and her risks and benefits from HRT may
vary significantly from others.
replacement therapy may not be right for every woman, but women need to be able
to have the conversation with their doctors," Ycaza Herrera said.
- Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) - (https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/hormone-replacement-therapy-hrt/)