den Heijer T, Geerlings MI, Hofman A, de Jong FH, Launer LJ, Pols HA, Breteler MM.
Higher estrogen levels are not associated with larger hippocampi and better memory performance.
Arch Neurol. 2003 Feb;60(2):213-20.
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The paper by Den Heijer et al. referred to in the above article reported that, in a normal ageing cohort, women with higher estradiol levels had smaller hippocampal volumes and poorer memory performance than did women with lower estradiol levels. This finding is consistent with work by the Oxford Project to Investigate Memory and Ageing (OPTIMA) that has shown, contrary to expectation, that women with AD have higher blood levels of estradiol than age-matched controls (Hogervorst and Smith, 2002). We have suggested that one reason why others have not obtained this result is related to the sensitivity of the assay method used for estradiol (Hogervorst et al., 2003). It is, of course, well-known that patients with AD have smaller hippocampi than do controls. There is a clear need for reappraisal of the role of female sex hormones in dementia (see Cochrane review by Hogervorst et al., 2002).
References:Hogervorst E and Smith AD. The interaction of serum folate and estradiol levels in Alzheimer's disease. Neuroendocrinol Lett, 2002;23:155-60. Abstract
Hogervorst E et al. Hormone replacement therapy to maintain cognitive function in women with dementia. Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2002;p.CD003799. Abstract
Hogervorst E et al. Measuring serum estradiol in women with Alzheimer's disease: the importance of the sensitivity of the assay method. Eur J Endocrinol. 2003;148:67-72. Abstract