A longer reproductive period put women at greater risk for A
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Estrogen has been thought to play a role in a woman's risk of developing Alzheimer's disease (AD). A new study has taken a different approach to identify risk factors for AD by examining the association between a woman's reproductive life span as an indicator of endogenous estrogen exposure and levels of cerebrospinal fluid biomarkers. Study results are published online in Menopause.

Alzheimer's disease represents 60% to 70% of all dementia diagnoses, making it the most common form of dementia. Approximately two-thirds of those with AD are women. This is not surprising, because age is the greatest known risk factor for AD, and women tend to live longer than men.

Prior studies have shown a link between both higher and lower estradiol blood levels and risk of dementia, whereas others have identified no associations. Some studies have shown that hormone therapy after menopause can increase the risk of dementia, but others have documented a decreased risk. Similarly, cognitive decline has been linked with both longer and shorter reproductive periods.

In this new study, a small sampling of women who were free of dementia and underwent natural menopause was followed for 25 years. Based on the results from the cerebrospinal fluid samples, researchers concluded that a longer reproductive life was associated with increased levels of AD biomarkers in the preclinical phase of the disease.

"This small population-based study showed an association between duration of the reproductive life span (a surrogate marker for exposure to endogenous estrogen) and biomarkers of Alzheimer disease in the cerebrospinal fluid of women without dementia."

Source: http://www.menopause.org/docs/default-source/press-release/reproductive-period-and-biomarkers-for-alzheimer-disease-7-7-21.pdf
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