Menopausal hormone therapy could benefit the brain

The brain could benefit from menopausal hormone therapy being administered soon after the menopause, a new study shows.

Scientists at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota in the US carried out research on 75 healthy women with an average age of 53.

They varied in being between five months and three years past the menopause to offer a wide range of post-menopausal examples. Researchers gave 20 of the women conjugated equine oestrogen in the form of a pill, 22 received oestradiol via skin patches and 33 took a placebo of either pills or patches. Progesterone pills were also given to those on the active hormone for the first 12 days of the month and the placebo group were given equivalent placebos. Each of the participants undertook memory and thinking tests at the beginning of the study, 18 months in, at the three-year mark and at the four-year conclusion. These were accompanied by MRI scans that helped to track the progress of the hormone therapy and how it affected the brain. Author of the research Kejal Kantarci said:

"We found that one form of menopausal hormone therapy taken soon after menopause may preserve brain structure in the portion of the brain responsible for memory and thinkinADNFCR-2094-ID-801845761-ADNFCRg skills.

"It may also reduce the development of amyloid plaques that can build up and lead to memory loss."