Tuesday January 21, 2020

Oral Hormone Therapy Closely Associated with Alzheimer’s Risk, Says Study

This is an observational study, and as such cannot establish cause, the researchers said

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In Alzheimer's disease, patients start losing memory. Pixabay

Long-term use of oral hormone therapy for relieving menopausal symptoms such as hot flushes and night sweats, could be associated with the risk of Alzheimer’s disease, finds a new study.

Overall, the use of oral hormone therapy was associated with a nine to 17 per cent increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease, whereas use of vaginal hormone therapy — transdermal treatments, such as patches, gels and creams — showed no such risk, said the study published by The BMJ.

This indicated nine to 18 additional cases of Alzheimer’s disease per year will be detected in 10,000 women between 70 to 80 years of age, especially in those who had used hormone therapy for over 10 years.

Although the absolute risk is small, women should be informed of the potential risk associated with prolonged use, stressed Tomi S Mikkola, Associate Professor at the University of Helsinki in Finland.

Moreover, among women who were younger than 60 when they started on hormone therapy, the increased risk was associated with exposure for over 10 years.

Cognitive Impairment
Alzheimer’s disease patient Isidora Tomaz, 82, sits in an armchair in her house in Lisbon, Portugal. It’s predicted that by 2050, 135 million Americans are going to suffer from mild cognitive impairment, a precursor of Alzheimer’s. VOA

“Long term use of systemic hormone therapy might be accompanied with an overall increased risk for Alzheimer’s disease, which is not related to the type of progestogen or the age at initiation,” the researchers said.

“By contrast, use of vaginal estradiol shows no such risk,” they added.

However, the evidence does not suggest that younger women should be concerned about using hormone therapy in the short term.

Also Read- Researchers Suggest Childbirth at The Age of 50 Safe

For the study, the researchers included 84,739 postmenopausal women diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease (cases) with the same number of postmenopausal women without a diagnosis (controls) to compare use of hormone therapy.

This is an observational study, and as such cannot establish cause, the researchers said. (IANS)

Next Story

This Protein in the Human Brain Can Protect Against Alzheimer’s disease

Brain protein that could protect against Alzheimer's disease

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Human Brain
Immune cells in the brain, called microglia, play a critical role in Alzheimer's disease. Pixabay

Researchers have found that a protein that regulates white blood cells in the human brain could protect against Alzheimer’s disease.

The results published in the journal Communications Biology suggest that this protein, called CD33, could have important implications in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease.

“Immune cells in the brain, called microglia, play a critical role in Alzheimer’s disease,” explained study co-author Matthew Macauley, Assistant Professor at University of Alberta in Edmonton, Canada.

“They can be harmful or protective. Swaying microglia from a harmful to protective state could be the key to treating the disease,” Macauley added.

Scientists have identified the CD33 protein as a factor that may decrease a person’s likelihood of Alzheimer’s disease.

Brain
CD33 protein in the brain plays a crucial role in modulating the function of microglia. Pixabay

Now, Macauley’s research has shown that the most common type of CD33 protein plays a crucial role in modulating the function of microglia.

“The fact that CD33 is found on microglia suggests that immune cells can protect the brain from Alzheimer’s disease under the right circumstances,” said Abhishek Bhattacherjee, first author and postdoctoral fellow in the Macauley lab.

Alzheimer’s disease affects more than 44 million people around the world.

Also Read- EU Leaders Agree Making the 28-member Bloc Carbon Neutral by 2050

“These findings set the stage for future testing of a causal relationship between CD33 and Alzheimer’s Disease, as well as testing therapeutic strategies to sway microglia from harmful to protecting against the disease – by targeting CD33,” said Macauley.

“Microglia have the potential to ‘clean up’ the neurodegenerative plaques, through a process called phagocytosis — so a therapy to harness this ability to slow down or reverse Alzheimer’s disease can be envisioned,” Macauley said. (IANS)