CHICAGO, IL- A recent study of hormone therapy has released information saying that women who started taking hormone replacements within five years of menopause are 30% less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease than those who started year later.
According to NBC News, the findings were reported on Wednesday the Journal Neurology. The findings add to the evidence that suggests that taking hormone replacements may do more than just help women cope with hot flashes and night sweats.
“Our results suggest that there may be a critical window near menopause where hormone therapy may possibly be beneficial,” Peter Zandi of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, one of the study leaders, said in a statement.
Even though the new study has found that hormone therapy could help reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s in menopausal women, many researchers agree that hormone replacements do not protect women from diseases of aging. They also agree that taking these drugs for long periods of time are linked to significant risks, including breast cancer, heart disease and gall bladder disease.
The most definitive study on hormone replacement therapy to date comes from the Women’s Health Initiative study. The study was a large, randomized trial that was stopped early in 2002 when women who were taking a combination of estrogen and progestin for five years had higher rates of ovarian cancer, breast cancer, strokes, and other health problems.
The study that found the reduced risk of Alzheimer’s followed 1,768 women over the age of 65 for 11 years. A total of 1,105 women used hormone therapy, which consisted of either estrogen alone or estrogen in combination with progestin. During the study, 176 women developed Alzheimer’s disease, including 87 of the 1,105 women who had taken hormone therapy compared to 89 of the 663 who did not.
There was no change in the risk among other hormone users who had started treatment more than five years after menopause, however, they did find a higher risk of dementia in the women who started combined estrogen and progestin at age 65 or older.
Zandi said that the study’s findings support the “timing” hypothesis. The “timing” hypothesis the hypothesis that claimes that earlier treatment with hormones may be beneficial while later treatment may be harmful.
“It doesn’t prove the hypothesis, ” Zandi said. “But it does suggest there might be something to that merits further investigation.”