The Link Between Menopause and Alzheimer’s
Women make up nearly two-thirds of patients with Alzheimer’s disease in the U.S., in part because they live longer than men. Now, researchers are exploring whether hormonal changes related to menopause affect the development of the disease.
“The truth is that Alzheimer’s is not a disease of old age, it’s a disease of middle age,” says Lisa Mosconi, director of the Weill Cornell Women’s Brain Initiative in New York City, a research program aimed at reducing Alzheimer’s risk. “In reality, the brain changes start in mid-life.”
Most people think of how menopause affects fertility. But Dr. Mosconi says its effect on the brain is what results in night sweats, hot flashes and even memory changes. Those symptoms are caused by declining levels of estrogen and other hormones. Estrogen protects the female brain from aging and stimulates neural activity. It may help prevent the buildup of clusters of proteins, or plaques, that are linked to Alzheimer’s disease.
Read more from the Wall Street Journal, by Sumathi Reddy, about The Link Between Menopause and Alzheimer’s