Could a longer reproduction period increase the risk of Alzheimer’s disease in women?
CLEVELAND, Ohio (July 7, 2021) – Estrogen is thought to play a role in a woman’s risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease (AD). A new study has taken a different approach to identify risk factors for AD by examining the association between a woman’s reproductive lifespan as an indicator of endogenous estrogen exposure and levels of biomarkers in the body. cerebrospinal fluid. The results of the study are published online in Menopause, the journal of the North American Menopause Society (NAMS).
Alzheimer’s disease accounts for 60-70% of all dementia diagnoses, making it the most common form of dementia. About two-thirds of people with AD are women. This is not surprising, because age is the biggest known risk factor for AD, and women tend to live longer than men.
The incidence of AD is increasing rapidly as the population ages, so many studies have been undertaken to identify other risk factors, especially those that may explain the differences between the sexes. Previous studies have shown a link between higher and lower estradiol levels in the blood and the risk of dementia, while others have found no association. Some studies have shown that hormone therapy after menopause can increase the risk of dementia, but others have documented a decreased risk. Likewise, cognitive decline has been associated with longer and shorter reproductive periods.
Despite all the conflicting evidence, few, if any, studies have examined the association between estrogen and AD biomarkers in cerebrospinal fluid, the clear body fluid found in tissues surrounding the brain and spinal cord. . In this new study, a small sample of women without dementia and who had undergone natural menopause was followed for 25 years. Based on the results of the cerebrospinal fluid samples, the researchers concluded that longer reproductive life was associated with increased levels of AD biomarkers in the preclinical phase of the disease; however, they suggested that larger studies should be conducted to confirm these results.
The results of the study appear in the article “Reproductive Period and Preclinical Cerebrospinal Fluid Markers for Alzheimer’s Disease: A 25-Year Study.”
“This small, population-based study showed an association between length of reproductive life (a surrogate marker for endogenous estrogen exposure) and Alzheimer’s disease biomarkers in the cerebrospinal fluid of women without dementia. This finding needs to be confirmed in larger studies but may be another contributing factor to the increased burden of Alzheimer’s disease in women which, at least in part, is likely related to aging and life expectancy longer for women than for men, ”explains Dr Stéphanie Faubion, NAMS Medical Director.
For more information on menopause and healthy aging, visit http: // www.
Founded in 1989, the North American Menopause Society (NAMS) is the premier nonprofit organization in North America dedicated to promoting the health and quality of life of all women in their midlife and beyond through an understanding of menopause and healthy aging. Its multidisciplinary members of 2,000 leaders in the field – including experts in the clinical and basic sciences of medicine, nursing, sociology, psychology, nutrition, anthropology, epidemiology, pharmacy and education – make NAMS a unique resource for health. professionals and the public for accurate and unbiased information on menopause and healthy aging. To learn more about NAMS, visit http: // www.
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