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Hormone Replacement Therapy can Improve Mental Health


Hormone Replacement Therapy can Improve Mental Health

(ePharmaNews) – Since it was first discovered, Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT) stirred a lot of controversy; although it relieves the annoying symptoms of menopause and protects women against osteoporosis, it increases the risk of some types of cancer as well as heart attacks and dementia. However, a new study shows that HRT have unexpected effects on the mental abilities of the women who are taking them.

Researchers from University of Illinois found that female rat which had their ovaries removed, to mimic the changes that occur in humans during menopause, and were given estrogen and a synthetic progesterone known as MPA had increased levels of a protein marker of synapses in the prefrontal cortex, a brain region known to suffer significant losses in aging.

“The prefrontal cortex is the area of the human brain that loses the most volume with age,” said U. of I. psychology professor and Beckman Institute affiliate Janice Juraska, who led the study with doctoral student Nioka Chisholm.  “So understanding how anything affects the prefrontal cortex is important.”

“For some reason, a lot of researchers still look at the effects of hormones in young animals,” Chisholm said. “And there’s a lot of evidence now saying that the aged brain is different; the effect of these hormones is not going to be the same.”

The findings of this study contradict those of a large study that started in 1991 and studied the effects of HRT on a group of women who had no health problems, ages 50 to 80. The older study found that HRT increases the risk of dementia and stroke. More
recent studies, however, showed that starting HRT immediately after the onset of menopause or after a few years can give different outcomes.

The researchers followed middle-aged rats that were given estrogen in combination with MPA for seven months, a time period that more closely corresponds to the experience of women who start hormone therapy at the onset of menopause and continue into old age.

“Our most important finding is that estrogen in combination with MPA can result in a greater number of synapses in the prefrontal cortex than (that seen) in animals that are not receiving hormone replacement,” Chisholm said. “Estrogen alone marginally increased the synapses, but it took the combination with MPA to actually see the significant effect.”

“Our data indicate that re-examining the effects of estrogen and MPA, when first given to women around the time of menopause, is merited,” Juraska concluded.


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Prepared by: Laila Nour


Source :

ePharmaNews






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