High Estrogen Levels Tied to Dementia in Women

According to a new study, published in the online journal, Neurology, older women with both high estrogen levels and diabetes have a significantly higher risk of dementia, compared to older women without these combined conditions. Previous studies have shown a link between diabetes and dementia and, last year, Medical News Today reported on a study detailing a new dementia risk scoring system that can predict whether older individuals with type 2 diabetes are likely to develop the condition.
However, in this study, Dr. Pierre-Yves Scarabin, of the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research (INSERM) in Villejuif, France, and investigators found that diabetes combined with high estrogen levels increases the risk even further.
To conduct the study, researchers used data from a study that included 5,600 post-menopausal women aged 65 or older, and measured estrogen levels in those without dementia who were not on hormone replacement therapy. Four years later, researchers looked at blood estrogen levels of 543 women aged 65 or over who were free of dementia, alongside 132 who had the disorder. The participants were also assessed for other risk factors of dementia, including diabetes, high blood pressure and abnormal blood clotting, among other heart health risk factors.
Researchers found that women with higher estrogen levels were twice as likely to develop dementia, as compared to women with low estrogen levels. In addition, women with high estrogen levels and diabetes were 14 times more likely to develop dementia, as compared to women without diabetes and with low estrogen levels. It was also found that women with both dementia and diabetes had estrogen levels 70% higher than women who only had diabetes.
“Women with high E2 [estrogen] levels and diabetes may represent a group at very high risk of dementia,” the study authors concluded.
Previous research has suggested estrogen-based therapy may have protective effects on the brain. Dr. Scarabin says his team was surprised by the research and added:
“However, more and more evidence suggests an association between high estradiol levels and dementia in women who have undergone menopause. Considering the expected increase in the number of elderly people with diabetes and dementia, more research on this topic should be urgently conducted.”
Resources: http://www.webmd.com/diabetes/news/20140129/high-estrogen-levels-plus-diabetes-may-boost-dementia-risk?page=2



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