Older women who have high oestrogen levels and diabetes may have a 14 times increased risk of dementia, according to a study published in the online edition of the journal Neurology.
Blood oestrogens were measured in women aged 65 years or older who were free of dementia. After a 4-year follow-up, 543 women who did not have dementia were compared with 132 women who had dementia.
The researchers looked at a number of risk factors for dementia, including diabetes, high blood pressure, abnormal blood clotting, and other heart health risk factors.
The study found that the risk of dementia more than doubled for women who had high oestrogen levels after accounting for other dementia risk factors. For those who had high oestrogen levels and diabetes, the risk for dementia increased dramatically, by 14 times.
Oestrogen levels were about 70% higher in women with diabetes who also had dementia compared with those without dementia. No other heart health risk factors raised the dementia risk.
“These results are surprising, given the expected brain protective effects of oestrogen-based therapy,” said Pierre-Yves Scarabin, MD, French National Institute of Health and Medical Research (INSERM), Villejuif, France. “However, more and more evidence suggests an association between high estradiol levels and dementia in women who have undergone menopause. Considering the expected increase in the number of elderly people with diabetes and dementia, more research on this topic should be urgently conducted.”
SOURCE: American Academy of Neurology