Menopause stimulates changes in the brain associated with Alzheimer’s


The loss of oestrogen during the menopause has a harmful effect at a metabolic, cutaneous, bone, cardiovascular and, in an increasingly clear way, at a cerebral and state of mind level.

In a recent study conducted at one of the most prestigious Alzheimer’s institutes in the United States, it has been shown that metabolic changes in the brain are related to the menopause and a decrease in the level of sex hormones produced by the ovaries. Such metabolic changes could be an early indicator of the chain of pathological events that culminate in cognitive deterioration and dementia.

Dr. Iván Moreno – Neolife Medical Team


A recent study suggests there is an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease in women who begin their transition to perimenopause and menopause.

Whilst the ultimate aim of the menopause is the conclusion of reproductive function, the effect is much broader as many of the symptoms associated with the menopause are neurological due to the effects on systems that are regulated by hormone levels such as thermoregulation (hot flushes), disturbances to sleep and circadian rhythms, depression and the onset of deficits in a number of cognitive domains.

The female sex is, after age, one of the most important risk factors in the development of Alzheimer’s disease; which suggests the role oestrogen deficits may play in the development of the disease. This relationship has been reinforced in the past in studies which have used animal test subjects, where the oestrogenic regulation of the cerebral metabolism and the associated impoverishment during menopause have been described.

La menopausia estimula cambios cerebrales asociados al Alzheimer

Menopause stimulates changes in the brain associated with Alzheimer’salt

In a recent study conducted at one of the most prestigious Alzheimer’s institutes in the United States, it has been shown that metabolic changes in the brain are related to the menopause and a decrease in the level of sex hormones produced by the ovaries. Such metabolic changes could be an early indicator of the chain of pathological events that culminate in cognitive deterioration and dementia.

Having assessed 46 women through a series of analytical tests including neurological tests and very advanced techniques, such as positron emission tomography, it was found that as hormonal levels decrease in the perimenopause and in a more pronounced way during the menopause itself, the areas of the brain that are susceptible to developing Alzheimer’s show signs of metabolic deterioration and an increase in mitochondrial dysfunction (oxidative stress), as well as lower performance during memory testing.

These findings suggest there is an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease in women who are beginning their transition to the perimenopause and the menopause and, in the words of the authors: “they show that hormonal ageing is far more prominent than the effects of chronological ageing in a woman’s brain by years (if not decades) before the onset of any possible symptoms.”

None of the women in the study were undergoing hormone replacement therapy. Previous studies have demonstrated the effectiveness of this treatment in preserving the metabolic function of areas of the brain susceptible to Alzheimer’s disease, particularly if the treatment begins in the early stages or immediately prior to the onset of the menopause.

According to the authors of the study, “in light of this data, a window of opportunity is open through which we can try to reduce the effect of one of the main risk factors of this devastating disease. The early assessment of women aged between 40-50 years, can help detect a perimenopause or the menopause itself, and allow us to perform a therapeutic intervention in the early stages of hormonal ageing.”

This and other studies like it have demonstrated that with the loss of oestrogen during the menopause not only does fertility disappear and degeneration of the urogenital system begins, but the loss also has a deleterious effect at a metabolic, cutaneous, bone, cardiovascular and in an increasingly clear way also at a cerebral and state of mind level.

We recently commented in this blog about the possibilities we have today to prevent Alzheimer’s disease. In this article, and in light of recent scientific evidence, we recommend that women who fall within the at risk (40-50 years) category or who have shown clinical signs of having begun the perimenopause (menstrual disorders, hot flushes, mood changes, etc.) undergo a comprehensive assessment.

The loss of multisystem functionality that is commonly associated with hormonal ageing can be corrected by using hormone replacement therapy, which at Neolife is performed with bioidentical hormones due to the lower risk of adverse side effects, a therapy which we pioneered in Spain.

Ageing and physical and mental deterioration over the years is a complex problem that depends on a number of different factors. Our philosophy is to be at the forefront of knowledge in this area and as new ways of evaluating or correcting each of the above appear, to implement solutions with rigour and scientific support in an effort to achieve healthy ageing and increase longevity to produce the best quality of life possible for all.


BIBLIOGRAPHY

(1) Mosconi L, Berti V, Guyara-Quinn C, McHugh P, Petrongolo G, Osorio RS, et al. (2017) Perimenopause and emergence of an Alzheimer’s bioenergetic phenotype in brain and periphery. PLoS ONE 12(10): e0185926. https://doi.org/ 10.1371/journal.pone.0185926.

(2) Yao J, Brinton RD. Estrogen regulation of mitochondrial bioenergetics: implications for prevention of Alzheimer’s disease. Advances in pharmacology. 2012; 64:327–71. https://doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-12- 394816-8.00010-6 PMID: 22840752; PubMed Central PMCID: PMC3970844.

(3) Brinton RD, Yao J, Yin F, Mack WJ, Cadenas E. Perimenopause as a neurological transition state. Nature reviews Endocrinology. 2015; 11(7):393–405. https://doi.org/10.1038/nrendo.2015.82 PMID: 26007613.

(4) Menopause Triggers Metabolic Brain Changes Linked to Alzheimer’s – Medscape – Oct 12, 2017.

 

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