Women’s Hormone Replacement and Alzheimer’s Disease Risk
In a study called the Cache County Study, women who initiated hormone replacement therapy within at least 5 years of menopause had a 30% reduced risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
Finally, there’s another gene called the Met 66 allele of the brain-derived neurotrophic factor gene that puts women at increased risk. So what does that mean?
Well, brain-derived neurotrophic factor, or BDNF, is an important hormone in everyone’s brain, not just women, because this hormone stimulates stem cells to become new nerve cells. That is, we can make new neurons, particularly in the region of that hippocampus which is affected by Alzheimer’s disease. Women with this change in the gene that partially codes for brain-derived neurotrophic factor have a particularly increased risk. So the question is, what stimulates this brain-derived neurotrophic factor if, in fact, women have an increased risk based on a genetic alteration? I will talk more about this in my next post.