Post Menopausal Hormones Improve Mood But Not Cognition

Dr.Carey Gleason Ph.D School of Medicine and Public Health, University of Wisconsin Geriatric Research, Education and Clinical Center William S. Middleton Memorial Veterans Hospital Wisconsin Alzheimer's Disease Research Center, Madison, Wisconsin MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Dr.Carey Gleason Ph.D

School of Medicine and Public Health, University of Wisconsin
Geriatric Research, Education and Clinical Center
William S. Middleton Memorial Veterans Hospital
Wisconsin Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center, Madison, Wisconsin

Dr. Gleason: In this response I refer to hormone therapy (HT), which was formally called hormone “replacement” therapy. In particular, we examined menopausal HT, i.e., the use of HT during the menopausal transition to address menopausal symptoms.

Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Dr. Gleason: The WHI Memory Study (WHIMS) suggested that HT was associated with cognitive harm for women age 65 and older. In contrast, we found that the cognitive performance of women randomized to receive menopausal hormone therapy did not differ from that of women randomized to receive the placebo. On a measure of mood states, women treated with conjugated equine estrogens showed improvements compared to those on placebo.

Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Dr. Gleason: If a woman chooses to manage her menopausal symptoms with hormone therapy, she can be reassured that she is not harming her cognition. Moreover, she may also experience some mood benefits.

Medical Research: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Dr. Gleason: It would be beneficial to follow the women in the KEEPS-Cog to evaluate the long-term effects of menopausal hormone therapy used during the transition period. There is a school of thought that there is a “critical window” for HT, during which HT exposure may be most beneficial for the brain. This is supported by basic science data. It has been proposed that the women enrolled in the WHIMS were given hormone therapy outside of the critical window, thus accounting for the unexpected finding of harm for some women. In contrast, women enrolled in the KEEPS-Cog were given HT during the critical window; follow-up would allow us to test this hypothetical critical window.

Citation:

PLoS Med. 2015 Jun 2;12(6):e1001833. doi: 10.1371/journal.pmed.1001833. eCollection 2015.

Effects of Hormone Therapy on Cognition and Mood in Recently Postmenopausal Women: Findings from the Randomized, Controlled KEEPS-Cognitive and Affective Study.

Gleason CE1, Dowling NM2, Wharton W3, Manson JE4, Miller VM5, Atwood CS1, Brinton EA6, Cedars MI7, Lobo RA8, Merriam GR9, Neal-Perry G10, Santoro NF11, Taylor HS12, Black DM13, Budoff MJ14, Hodis HN15, Naftolin F16, Harman SM17, Asthana S1.


MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr.Carey Gleason Ph.D, School of Medicine and Public Health, University of Wisconsin, Geriatric Research, Education and Clinical Center, William S. Middleton Memorial Veterans Hospital, & Wisconsin Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center, Madison, Wisconsin (2015). Post Menopausal Hormones Improved Mood But Not Cognition