Hormone Therapy Linked to Brain Shrinkage

The Physicians Committee

Hormone Therapy Linked to Brain Shrinkage

January 13, 2009

A new study shows that postmenopausal women who take hormone therapy have significantly lower brain volume in the frontal lobe (p=0.004) and hippocampus (p=0.05), compared with a placebo group. The study looked at MRI scans from 1403 postmenopausal women who had previously participated in the Women’s Health Initiative Memory Study (WHIMS), a subsidiary study to the Women’s Health Initiative.

WHIMS had previously shown increased risk of dementia and adverse cognitive effects in women 65 years or older. WHIMS was terminated early because of stroke risk associated with hormone replacement therapy.

Resnick SM, Espeland MA, Jaramillo SA, Hirsch C, Stefanick ML, Murray AM, et al. Postmenopausal hormone therapy and regional brain volumes: The WHIMS-MRI Study. Neurology. 2009;72:135-142.

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