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Ovary Removal May Up Dementia Risk

Study Shows Estrogen May Help Protect Younger Women's Brains

Estrogen Therapy Revisited

Rocca is quick to point out that his findings do not address the controversial question of whether estrogen therapy is a good idea for women approaching menopause with their ovaries still intact.

But in a separate study, reported last spring, taking estrogen replacement therapy before the age of 65 did appear to protect women from developing dementia later on, whether or not they still had their ovaries.

Participants in the Women's Health Initiative (WHI) Memory Study who took estrogen alone or estrogen plus progestin before age 65 were about 50% less likely to develop Alzheimer's disease or another age-related dementia as women who did not take hormones before that age.

Stanford University professor of neurology Victor Henderson, MD, who led that study, says the clinical implications of all the new research remain somewhat puzzling.

"Despite very important knowledge gained in the WHI Memory Study there are still important unanswered questions concerning the relationship between estrogen and cognition, and the Mayo study offers one more piece of the puzzle," he says.

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