Alzheimer disease (AD) increases exponentially with age, with an annual
incidence of approximately 0.08% at age 60 to 64 years, and more than doubling
every 5 years to an incidence of 0.7% at age 75 to 79 years and 1.4% at age
80 to 85 years.1 Approximately 43% of people
with AD are between 75 and 85 years.1 A substantial
number of observational studies have suggested that hormone therapy decreases
incidence or delays onset of dementia, primarily AD.2- 7 Laboratory
studies have shown that estrogen receptors are present on cholinergic neurons
and have neurotropic, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory effects.8,9 Estrogen deficiency in middle age has
been postulated to account, at least in part, for the somewhat higher incidence
of AD in women than men and may constitute a risk factor for AD.
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