Author(s): Shepherd JE
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Abstract OBJECTIVE: To review research findings on the effects of estrogen on cognition, mood, memory, and degenerative brain disease in women. DATA SOURCES: English-language journal articles published primarily since 1995, retrieved from a MEDLINE search and from bibliographies of selected reviews. STUDY SELECTION: Investigational studies, clinical trials, and review articles examining the effects of estrogen on the central nervous system. DATA SYNTHESIS: Although scientific study of the brain is in its infancy, numerous studies indicate that estrogen is essential to optimal brain function. Estrogen has been shown to increase cerebral blood flow, act as an antiinflammatory agent, enhance activity at neuronal synapses, and exert direct neuroprotective and neurotrophic effects on brain tissue. Through these varied mechanisms, estrogen strongly influences mood and cognition, and the decline of this hormone at menopause can produce significant emotional and cognitive problems in women. CONCLUSION: Pharmacists can educate women about the various mood and memory changes that can occur during perimenopause and how estrogen replacement therapy may lead to improvements in brain function. The potential use of estrogen replacement therapy to reduce the risk of Alzheimer's disease and ease the symptoms of Parkinson's disease could have a profound effect on women, their families, and society as a whole.
This article was published in J Am Pharm Assoc (Wash)
and referenced in Reproductive System & Sexual Disorders: Current Research