Monday, 25 March 2019

Long-term hormone use after menopause tied to Alzheimer's risk

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Women who take hormone replacement therapy (HRT) to ease menopause symptoms like hot flashes and night sweats may be slightly more likely to develop Alzheimer's disease, a large Finnish study suggests.

Many women have been reluctant to use hormones for menopause symptoms since 2002, when the Women's Health Initiative (WHI) study in the US linked treatments containing man-made versions of the female hormones estrogen and progestin to an increased risk of breast cancer, heart attacks and strokes.

The current study involved almost 85,000 women diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease in Finland between 1999 and 2013 and a control group of about 85,000 similar women without this diagnosis. Roughly 30% of women in both groups used hormones; most took "systemic" hormones in tablet or pill forms but some used vaginal treatments.

Compared to women who did not use systemic hormones, those who did were 9% to 17% more likely to develop Alzheimer's disease. The biggest risk was for older women who used HRT for more than a decade.

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