18 April 2013
A new study has examined the cognitive effects of hormone therapy on memory, language and concentration in menopausal women.
A study, published in the Menopause journal, examined the effects of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) E2D, which used a combination of hormones estradiol and drospirenone to treat women. Early postmenopausal women aged between 49 and 55 who had never used HRT were assessed over a six-month period.
The treatment resulted in significant improvement in menopausal symptoms including hot flushes, night sweats, and sexual function, and it lowered blood pressure and weight in comparison to those who were treated with an identical placebo.
The women also underwent cognitive assessment and were asked to perform mental tasks during a brain-imaging (MRI) scan.
Estradiol, a form of oestrogen combined with drospirenone, a progestin, were found to have no effect on the cognitive performance of early postmenopausal women.
Professor Susan Davis, Director of the Women's Health Research Program in the Monash University School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, said there had long been debate about the safety of hormone replacement therapies and the potential adverse effects on cognitive function in women.
“These findings are reassuring for women,” Professor Davis said.
“We report, for the first time, that drospirenone combined with estradiol has no overall effect on the cognitive performance of postmenopausal women examined over a 26-week period.
“Although hormone replacement therapy is no quick fix to the challenge of menopause, it does show that the E2D treatment can be useful in the overall management of menopause, and without adversely effecting cognitive ability.”
Professor Davis said memory and mood complaints were frequent in women after menopause due to oestrogen deficiency, including a lack of clarity of thought and memory or word-finding difficulties.