It’s Back!!

Estrogen!!

And here’s one reason why, from the NY Times:

That’s why [Roberta] Brinton [a noted researcher] says that the timing hypothesis — the proposition that estrogen could bring great benefit to a woman who starts it in her 50s while having the reverse effect on a woman 10 years older — makes sense even though it is still experimental. She and other scientists know there are ways estrogen improves and protects the brain when it is added to healthy tissue. It makes new cells grow. It increases what’s called “plasticity,” the brain’s ability to change and respond to stimulation. It builds up the density and number of dendritic spines, the barbs that stick out along the long tails of brain cells, like thorns on a blackberry stem, and hook up with other neurons to transmit information back and forth. (The thinning of those spines is a classic sign of Alzheimer’s.)

One reason concerns, then, the health of the aging female brain.  There’s a second group of  researchers who are looking  into a similar hypothesis about the heart.  With each, the important point is the timing; the effects of taking estrogen in perimenopause appear to be very different from taking them afterwards, to put it  roughly.

The article does not have easy answers to the question of what to do.  The author remarks, “The personal calculus of risk is an exhausting exercise in the modern era…”

4 thoughts on “It’s Back!!

  1. I have been on HRT since my late 40s due to debilitating hot flashes, ones that left me in severe sleep deprivation. My Gyn and I decided that the possible effects of HRT long term were less worrisome than the certain and presently occurring sleep deprivation. I am grateful to her and her enlightened point of view. I am now 63 and have tried a few times to even lessen the dosage by alternating days and the hot flashes come back. I suspect they may never go away so I may be on HRT the rest of my days.

  2. I’m not sure and neither is my physician. She says, though, that maybe this is just the way it will be. I keep hoping the menopause symptoms will just cease on their own but, alas, not so far. Who knows what the outcome will be. I just know that I need to sleep. And even now, if I back off on the dosage, the extreme hot flashes return and that means interrupted sleep all night long. Oh well. I’m grateful for the HRT. Who knows how women in the past dealt with this kind of thing. By the way, I tried all the natural choices first since I was/am an herbalist but they did not help me.

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