1500 Women in a 30-year follow-up study who had ovaries surgically removed before menopause had nearly double the risk for developing age-related dementia later in life. However, this increase in risk was not seen in women who had both ovaries removed and were also treated with oestrogen until at least age 50.
The study, published in the latest online issue of the journal Neurology, suggests there is a “critical age window” for the protective effect of oestrogen on women’s brains, says researcher Walter A Rocca, MD, MPH, of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.
“It is possible that oestrogen has a protective effect on the brain and that lack of estrogen due to ovary removal may increase a woman’s risk of developing memory problems,” Rocca says in a news release.
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