Navigation Links
HRT Shrinks the Brain

But research shows it does not damage cerebral blood vessels in older women

MONDAY, Jan. 12 (HealthDay News) -- Two studies looking at the same group of women found that while hormone therapy is linked with brain shrinkage, it does not seem to be associated with early signs of cerebrovascular disease.

This suggests that hormone therapy's effect on brain volume, not its effect on the brain lesions that indicate "silent strokes," is the mechanism by which hormones increase the risk for dementia in women over 65.

"These are a nice companion to cognitive studies reported earlier. This is now neuroradiological evidence that, together, suggest that the effect [of hormones] may be more degeneration than vascular," said Miriam Weber, an assistant professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation and of neurology at the University of Rochester Medical Center.

These papers, both published in the Jan. 13 issue of Neurology, are the latest in a parade of analyses resulting from the hormone therapy arm of the landmark, government-sponsored Women's Health Initiative study.

Previous results included an increased risk of stroke and cerebrovascular disease in women over 65 taking hormone replacement therapy (HRT). Another offshoot of the WHI, the WHI Memory Study, found an increased risk of dementia and memory problems in this group of women.

Both papers set out to understand the mechanisms behind this increased risk for dementia in women taking conjugated equine estrogens (either estrogen alone or estrogen plus progestin).

In the primary paper, researchers analyzed brain scans on about 1,400 women in the WHI Memory Study, who had been on hormone therapy for about four to six years.

They found no relationship between vascular lesions in the brain or an increased risk of dementia.

"The main message is that women over 65 years of age who took CEE-based hormone therapy [either estrogen alone or estrogen plus progestin] through the WHI clinical trials and who agreed to have an MRI scan did not experience increases in brain lesion volume," said study author Laura H. Coker, an assistant professor of public health sciences at Wake Forest University School of Medicine in Winston-Salem, N.C.

The second paper, after analyzing MRI scans from the same group of people (now aged 71 to 89), found shrinkages in both the hippocampus and frontal lobe regions of the brain, which are critically involved in memory and cognitive function.

"Much to our surprise, we found a small but significant decrease in the hippocampal and frontal volumes, and a nonsignificant trend towards reduced total brain volume in women who had been randomized to hormone therapy," reported Susan M. Resnick, lead author of the second paper and a senior investigator with the Intramural Research Program at the U.S. National Institute on Aging. "The negative effects were most evident in women who already may have had some memory problems before using hormone therapy. . . so it suggests that hormone therapy may be accelerating processes that have already begun."

The most pronounced effect was seen in women with more brain lesions. "In a very healthy brain, the hormone therapy did not appear to have an adverse effect, but in women who were already having some problems, the hormone therapy did have an adverse effect," Resnick said.

In the WHI trial, hormones were given to 65-year-old women when, in real life, they are often given to much younger women, which may be a harbinger of good news.

"The encouraging thing is that younger women are much less likely to have vulnerable brains," Resnick explained.

Indeed, preliminary research presented earlier this year by the same team did find that women who start hormone therapy before they turn 65 could actually cut their risk of developing Alzheimer's or another dementia.

But Resnick cautioned, "these findings don't impact the current recommendations which are to use hormone therapy for treatment of menopausal symptoms for the shortest time at the lowest possible dose."

More information

Visit the U.S. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute for more on HRT use.

SOURCES: Susan M. Resnick, Ph.D., senior investigator, Intramural Research Program, U.S. National Institute on Aging, Baltimore; Laura H. Coker, Ph.D., assistant professor, public health sciences, Wake Forest University School of Medicine, Winston-Salem, N.C.; Miriam Weber, Ph.D., assistant professor, physical medicine and rehabilitation and neurology, University of Rochester Medical Center; Jan. 13, 2009, Neurology

Copyright©2009 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. Aging heart changes shape, shrinks and loses pumping function too
2. Drug combination shrinks breast cancer metastases in brain
3. Pollution shrinks fetus size: Brisbane study finds
4. Transplant Drug Shrinks Tumors in Women With Rare Lung Disease
5. Nanomedical approach targets multiple cancer genes, shrinks tumors more effectively
6. Excess Drinking Shrinks the Brain
7. Draining away brains toxic protein to stop Alzheimers
8. Vision restoration therapy shown to improve brain activity in brain injured patients
9. Clinical depression linked to abnormal emotional brain circuits
10. Brain imaging reveals breakdown of normal emotional processing
11. Brain cells work differently than previously thought
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
HRT Shrinks the Brain
(Date:11/25/2015)... , ... November 25, 2015 , ... ... is offering lower prices in an early celebration of the early holiday shopping ... price of $29.95 each (normally $33.95 ea). Black Friday promotional pricing is in ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ON (PRWEB) , ... November 24, 2015 , ... New ... Williams without a referral for dental implants at her Mississauga, ON practice. ... and experienced in the placement of dental implants. , Missing teeth can lead ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... ... In an article published November 12th by Obesity News Today, ... are not eligible for bariatric surgery. The article explains that candidates for weight loss ... pounds overweight, or have a BMI of 35 and over with at least two ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... ... November 24, 2015 , ... Preparing for the LDT Regulation:, ... p.m. EST, , FDA has long asserted that design and manufacture ... performing the tests and do not meet the device regulations. , Come up short ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... Richey, FL (PRWEB) , ... November 24, 2015 , ... ... deems a growing epidemic as deaths from prescription opioids in the United States grew ... and cocaine. In 2013 alone, opioids were involved in 37 percent of all fatal ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/25/2015)... DUBLIN , Nov. 25, 2015 ... global pharmaceutical company, and Rugen Therapeutics, a start-up ... treatments for unmet CNS disorders and funded by ... that they have entered into an exclusive collaboration ... therapies for Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD) and Obsessive ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... Nov. 25, 2015  Mindray Medical ... MR ), a leading developer, ... worldwide, today announced that it will ... of shareholders at the Company,s Hong Kong office ... Prince Edward West Road, Mongkok KL, Hong ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... November 25, 2015 ... addition of the  "Global Drug Device ... to their offering.  --> ... of the  "Global Drug Device Combination ... their offering.  --> Research ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: