The role of oestrogen in cognition and dementia: a review of mechanisms and the effect of oestrogen replacement therapy

Heather McCann, Christopher Scott

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Although oestrogen is best known for its role in differentiation and maturation of the primary and secondary sex organs, it also has widespread trophic effects on normal human brain. These actions on neural tissue are thought to provide protection against a wide range of insults, including neurodegenerative disease. This paper reviews these neuroprotective actions and examines the evidence regarding the efficacy of oestrogen replacement therapy as a neuroprotectant. Postmenopausal women experience a decline in oestrogen levels and are perhaps more vulnerable to development of neurodegenerative disease. Oestrogen replacement therapy in these women is therefore proposed to prevent cognitive decline. Many studies have been undertaken to examine this theory and determine the potential of oestrogen as a therapeutic agent in post-menopausal or ovariectomised women. Initially, data from epidemiological studies suggested that oestrogen did play a neuroprotective role, however subsequent clinical trials have been unable to verify these findings.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4-11
Number of pages8
JournalAustralian Journal of Medical Science
Volume26
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2005

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