Hormone Therapy and Dementia

Posted on:  |  Filed under: Alzheimer's Disease, Hormone Research, Menopause

Professor Natalie Rasgon

Professor Natalie Rasgon


The Australasian Menopause Society  has highlighted a study led by Stanford University Medical Center’s  Professor Natalie L. Rasgon which examined the effects of estrogen replacement therapy for post-menopausal women at risk of dementia.

Object of study:

To discover the effects of estrogen- based  hormone therapy (HT)  on postmenopausal women’s regional cerebral metabolism, who are at risk of developing dementia. Mean age of the women was 58. The primary outcome measure was a change in brain function and activity. In dementia, “brain function is affected enough to interfere with the person’s normal social or working life.”

Method and Results:

The study was held over two years. 45 women received neuroimaging  pre and post commencement of estrogen-based  hormone therapy. Participants were chosen to either continue or discontinue therapy.

Results showed the women who continued HT experienced “relative  preservation of frontal and parietal cortical metabolism” compared with women randomly chosen  to discontinue HT. This means their brain function remained relatively the same over the two year study period, while the women who discontinued HT showed a decline in brain function.

Women who continued therapy with conjugated equine estrogen showed a decline in function of the precuneus/posterior cingulate cortical (PCC) area. The PCC undergoes the most decline in function during the earliest stages of Alzheimer’s disease, the most common form of dementia.

A decline in PCC function was also seen in women who were taking progestin with their estrogen replacement therapy.


The study suggests post-menopausal women at risk of dementia may benefit from estrogen replacement therapy to aid in brain function preservation.

Hormone Solutions is currently involved in two clinical trials investigating the link between Alzheimer’s disease and hormone supplementation. Read more about our studies here.

Study one: A 52 week, double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial to determine the efficacy of testosterone, with and without DHA supplementation in men with Subjective Memory Complaints as a strategy to prevent the development of Alzheimer’s Disease.

Study two: The Role of Testosterone on Aß Deposition of Alzheimer’s disease

For more information on testosterone in women, see:  http://www.hormonesolutions.com/female/testosterone/what-is-testosterone.php 

Hormone Solutions’s recommended reading: Testosterone In Women

Take the online Female Sexual Function Self-Assessment quiz  here.



Study reference:

Rasgon NL, Geist CL, Kenna HA, Wroolie TE, Williams KE, Silverman DH. Prospective randomized trial to assess effects of continuing hormone therapy on cerebral function in postmenopausal women at risk for dementia. PLoS One. 2014 Mar 12;9(3):e89095. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0089095. eCollection 2014.

Feature image courtesy of www.fightdementia.org.au/



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