HORMONES used in menopause medication could help protect women from dementia and Parkinsons, experts have claimed.
Women had previously been concerned about taking HRT due to fears surrounding dementia.
Now a new study by the Mayo Clinic found that loss of oestrogen could accelerate the ageing of the brain and that HRT has no adverse effects on memory.
Researchers said the surgical removal of both ovaries was associated with a five fold increased risk of Parkinsons in women under the age of 43.
They added that the explanation could be due to the lack of oestrogen.
Lead researcher Dr Walter Rocca, of the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, US, said: We can say that oestrogen has some neuroprotective effects and some possibly harmful effects on the brain.
The protective effects may be against vascular or degenerative processes. For example, it has been hypothesised that oestrogen may reduce the accumulation of amyloid in the brain.
The balance between positive and negative effects on the brain may vary by age and may depend on the presence of other diseases.
Writing in Jama Network Open, the experts explained that replacing the oestrogen lost through HRT could be beneficial.
Another study published in September 2019 found that using HRT does not increase dementia risk.
HRT works by replacing the hormonesthat are depleted in menopause, including oestrogen, progesterone and testosterone.
The team, from the universities of Nottingham, Oxford and Southampton, looked at 118,000 women aged 55 and over who were diagnosed withdementiabetween 1998 and 2020.
Their information, drawn from UK GP surgery data, was compared to almost half a million women who did not havedementia.
In each of the groups, 14 per cent of women used HRT for more than three years.
Overall, no increased risks of developing dementia were seen in menopausal women taking HRT, the authors said.
This finding was consistent across different types of hormones, doses, applications, and time of hormone therapy initiation, the authors said.
Oestrogen-only therapy usually only taken by women who no longer have a womb appeared to be protective.
It was linked to 15 per cent decreased odds of dementia among women younger than 80 who received treatment for at least ten years.
Each year of treatment correlated with a 1.1 per cent decrease in risk.
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