Estrogen and Progestin (not progesterone) doesn’t help Alzheimer’s

A new double-blind placebo-controlled study failed to find any benefits of hormone replacement use in relation to Alzheimer’s Disease.

Though the results are disappointing, they do not necessarily rule out a role for estrogen in either the treatment or prevention of Alzheimer’s disease, according to the study’s authors.

Estrogen may turn out to be beneficial when used in combination with other drugs or it may help stave off the development of Alzheimer’s when taken before symptoms begin.

In the study, 50 women with Alzheimer’s were randomly assigned to a daily dose of an estrogen/progestin supplement or placebo. After 12 weeks, women taking hormones did not perform significantly better on tests of memory, concentration and other intellectual skills.

The study’s authors state that the hormones may show a benefit when given for a longer period of time and a larger study group may be required as well.

However, an editorial accompanying the study points out that this is the third study published this year that has failed to show that estrogen improves mental function in women with Alzheimer’s disease.

Neurology 2000; 54: 2035-2037, 2061-2066

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