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HRT taken during menopause can protect women against Alzheimer's

HRT can protect women against Alzheimer's – providing it is taken at the menopause, according to  researchers.
A study showed women who began taking hormone replacement therapy within five years of the menopause cut their risk of the disease by a third.
But the findings suggest that if HRT is started in later life, it could give women a greater risk of developing the condition, leading some experts to believe there is a 'window of opportunity' when the benefits are maximised.
The study found that women who began HRT within five years of menopause had a 30 per cent lower risk of Alzheimer¿s dementia than those who had not used HRT
The researchers at Johns Hopkins University, in Baltimore, followed 1,768 women aged 65 and over for 11 years, recording a history of their HRT use and the date their menopause began.
A total of 1,105 women had used some form of hormone therapy, the report in journal Neurology noted.


During the study, 176 women developed Alzheimer's disease, including 87 of the women who had taken hormone therapy compared with 89 of the 663 who had not.
The study found that women who began HRT within five years of the menopause had a 30 per cent lower risk of Alzheimer's dementia than those who had not used HRT.


Many people with dementia are not dying in the place they want to, says Alzheimer’s Society research.
Although two out of three people want to die in their own homes, in 2010 only six per cent of people with dementia did.
This is compared to 21 per cent of the general population, says a report, My Life Until The End: Dying Well With Dementia.
It found in many cases people with dementia had not discussed their wishes around death and dying so no-one was able to put services in place to make them a reality.
The high needs of people with dementia also mean it is difficult for carers to cope at home and there are difficulties in coordinating care.
The report said people with dementia are often not treated with dignity at the end of their lives.
One man had a dislocated shoulder for 11 days until his death despite his family raising concerns with numerous doctors.
The risk was unchanged among other hormone users who began treatment more than five years after the  menopause. And the protective effect was even larger in women using HRT for ten years or more.
But the risk of dementia among women who had started HRT when they were at least 65, which, depending on the individual, can be more than a decade after the menopause, was almost doubled.
The protective effect from HRT may come from boosting supplies of the hormone oestrogen, which is thought to play a key role in keeping the brain healthy, or the improvement in heart risk factors linked to HRT.
Earlier this month a study found HRT can reduce the risk of heart attacks and heart failure.
In the United Kingdom, women in their 50s are told to use HRT drugs short-term and for no longer than  five years.
Dr Simon Ridley, head of research at Alzheimer's Research UK, said: 'Previous research into HRT has shown mixed results, but this useful study suggests the timing of hormone use may be critical for either raising or reducing the risk of Alzheimer's.
'More work is needed to understand this link and help women make informed decisions about whether to start HRT, but these findings could be important for guiding future research.

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2222545/HRT-taken-menopause-protect-women-Alzheimers.html#ixzz2AKF4SpL2 
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