0
We're unable to sign you in at this time. Please try again in a few minutes.
Retry
We were able to sign you in, but your subscription(s) could not be found. Please try again in a few minutes.
Retry
There may be a problem with your account. Please contact the AMA Service Center to resolve this issue.
Contact the AMA Service Center:
Telephone: 1 (800) 262-2350 or 1 (312) 670-7827  *   Email: subscriptions@jamanetwork.com
Error Message ......
Review |

Estrogen Therapy in Postmenopausal Women:  Effects on Cognitive Function and Dementia

Kristine Yaffe, MD; George Sawaya, MD; Ivan Lieberburg, PhD, MD; Deborah Grady, MD, MPH
JAMA. 1998;279(9):688-695. doi:10.1001/jama.279.9.688.
Text Size: A A A
Published online

Context.— Several studies have suggested that estrogen replacement therapy in postmenopausal women improves cognition, prevents development of dementia, and improves the severity of dementia, while other studies have not found a benefit of estrogen use.

Objective.— To determine whether postmenopausal estrogen therapy improves cognition, prevents development of dementia, or improves dementia severity.

Data Sources.— We performed a literature search of studies published from January 1966 through June 1997, using MEDLINE, manually searched bibliographies of articles identified, and consulted experts.

Study Selection.— Studies that evaluated biological mechanisms of estrogen's effect on the central nervous system and studies that addressed the effect of estrogen on cognitive function or on dementia.

Data Extraction.— We reviewed studies for methods, sources of bias, and outcomes and performed a meta-analysis of the 10 studies of postmenopausal estrogen use and risk of dementia using standard meta-analytic methods.

Data Synthesis.— Biochemical and neurophysiologic studies suggest several mechanisms by which estrogen may affect cognition: promotion of cholinergic and serotonergic activity in specific brain regions, maintenance of neural circuitry, favorable lipoprotein alterations, and prevention of cerebral ischemia. Five observational studies and 8 trials have addressed the effect of estrogen on cognitive function in nondemented postmenopausal women. Cognition seems to improve in perimenopausal women, possibly because menopausal symptoms improve, but there is no clear benefit in asymptomatic women. Ten observational studies have measured the effect of postmenopausal estrogen use on risk of developing dementia. Meta-analysis of these studies suggests a 29% decreased risk of developing dementia among estrogen users, but the findings of the studies are heterogeneous. Four trials of estrogen therapy in women with Alzheimer disease have been conducted and have had primarily positive results, but most have been small, of short duration, nonrandomized, and uncontrolled.

Conclusions.— There are plausible biological mechanisms by which estrogen might lead to improved cognition, reduced risk for dementia, or improvement in the severity of dementia. Studies conducted in women, however, have substantial methodologic problems and have produced conflicting results. Large placebo-controlled trials are required to address estrogen's role in prevention and treatment of Alzheimer disease and other dementias. Given the known risks of estrogen therapy, we do not recommend estrogen for the prevention or treatment of Alzheimer disease or other dementias until adequate trials have been completed.

Figures in this Article

Sign in

Purchase Options

• Buy this article
• Subscribe to the journal
• Rent this article ?

Figures

Graphic Jump Location
Odds ratios (circles) and 95% confidence intervals (horizontal lines) from studies of the risk of developing Alzheimer dementia (by any diagnostic criteria) in women receiving estrogens.

Tables

References

CME
Also Meets CME requirements for:
Browse CME for all U.S. States
Accreditation Information
The American Medical Association is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians. The AMA designates this journal-based CME activity for a maximum of 1 AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM per course. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. Physicians who complete the CME course and score at least 80% correct on the quiz are eligible for AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM.
Note: You must get at least of the answers correct to pass this quiz.
Please click the checkbox indicating that you have read the full article in order to submit your answers.
Your answers have been saved for later.
You have not filled in all the answers to complete this quiz
The following questions were not answered:
Sorry, you have unsuccessfully completed this CME quiz with a score of
The following questions were not answered correctly:
Commitment to Change (optional):
Indicate what change(s) you will implement in your practice, if any, based on this CME course.
Your quiz results:
The filled radio buttons indicate your responses. The preferred responses are highlighted
For CME Course: A Proposed Model for Initial Assessment and Management of Acute Heart Failure Syndromes
Indicate what changes(s) you will implement in your practice, if any, based on this CME course.

Multimedia

Some tools below are only available to our subscribers or users with an online account.

2,573 Views
614 Citations

Sign in

Purchase Options

• Buy this article
• Subscribe to the journal
• Rent this article ?

Related Content

Customize your page view by dragging & repositioning the boxes below.

Articles Related By Topic
Related Collections
Jobs
JAMAevidence.com

The Rational Clinical Examination: Evidence-Based Clinical Diagnosis
Quick Reference

The Rational Clinical Examination: Evidence-Based Clinical Diagnosis
Quick Reference

×
brightcove.createExperiences();