Estrogen Users Fared Better Than Nonusers on Cognitive Testing

Article excerpt

MIAMI BEACH -- Postmenopausal estrogen users performed significantly better on computerized cognitive tests than nonusers, suggesting that the hormone may have a beneficial effect on cognition in some women, Joan Friebely, Ed.D., reported in a poster session at the annual meeting of the North American Menopause Society.

Dr. Friebely's conclusions, which indicated intact working memory and executive function, support the hypothesis that estrogen may have a protective effect on cognition when administered to younger, healthy postmenopausal women.

Other computerized tests of cognition have not examined similar populations, she pointed out. "We looked at healthy women who were within a relatively short time after their final menstrual period and who started using estrogen early, in that critical period before any [cognitive] damage was done," she said in an interview.

Her retrospective analysis included data from two of her own prior studies. One study compared the effects of placebo and soy tablets in a group of non-estrogen users who had hot flashes. The second study compared the effects of different hormone regimens. Both studies used the same computerized tests, which included a continuous performance test of attention, a finger-tapping test of motor speed, and a switching attention test to measure working memory and executive function.

Estrogen users performed significantly better on every test than did nonusers. After adjustment for possible confounders, the difference in performance scores between the estrogen users and nonusers had a mean effect size of 1. …


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