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High (and Low?) Endogenous Estradiol Linked to Increased Dementia Risk in Postmenopausal Women — Physician’s First Watch

Medical News |
January 30, 2014

High (and Low?) Endogenous Estradiol Linked to Increased Dementia Risk in Postmenopausal Women

By Amy Orciari Herman

High levels of endogenous estradiol are associated with increased risk for incident dementia among postmenopausal women, especially among those who have diabetes, a Neurology study finds.

Using data from a French prospective cohort, researchers identified some 130 postmenopausal women who developed dementia and 540 who remained dementia-free over a 4-year period. Endogenous estradiol was measured at baseline. None were using hormone therapy.

After multivariable adjustment, researchers found a J-shaped association between estradiol and dementia: Compared with women with moderate estradiol levels, those with the highest levels had a 2.4-fold risk for dementia, and those with the lowest levels had a 2.2-fold risk. In an analysis stratified according to diabetes status, diabetic women with high estradiol had a 14-fold increase in dementia risk.

The researchers attribute the increased risk at low estradiol levels to possible reverse causation. Regarding the link between high estradiol and dementia in diabetic women, they write: "It is plausible that higher endogenous [estradiol] together with diabetes promote a set of unfavorable vascular processes to increase risk of dementia in postmenopausal women."

Reader Comments (1)

Robert M. Wein, MD Physician, Greensboro, NC USSA

Could the higher endogenous levels of estradiol be associated with obesity, diabetes and endometrial cancer?

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