Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Hormone Replacement Therapy May Improve Visual Memory

Date:
November 16, 2006
Source:
University of Michigan Health System
Summary:
Research from the University of Michigan Health System suggests that hormone therapy might help women retain certain memory functions. In a study in the new issue of the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, they report that a group of postmenopausal women showed more brain activity during a visual memory test than did women who were not taking the hormone therapy.

Many women experience declines in their memory during and after menopause, a change thought to be due, in part, to the rapid hormonal changes they weather during that time.

Now, research from the University of Michigan Health System suggests that hormone therapy might help women retain certain memory functions. In a study in the new issue of The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, they report that a group of postmenopausal women showed more brain activity during a visual memory test than did women who were not taking the hormone therapy.

The 10 postmenopausal women in the study, ages 50-60, were given hormone therapy or a placebo for four weeks, followed by a month with no medications, and then four weeks of the other treatment. Their brain activation was measured as they were shown a complex grid of 81 squares, with 40 of them darkened to form a pattern.

Participants were asked to find the matching image from a choice of two, with the new set of images presented after varying time periods (one to four seconds). During the time that the two images were shown, participants were asked to choose the one that matched the initial grid by pressing one of two buttons on an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging)-compatible response pad.

Those who were taking combined estrogen-progestin hormone therapy showed significantly increased activity in the prefrontal cortex, a region of the brain that is critical in memory tasks, compared with those on placebo (a pill with no medicinal value). The researchers used images from functional MRI, or fMRI, to compare the participants' brain activity.

"Our findings suggest that even relatively short periods of hormone therapy have effects on the memory systems that may be of benefit to some women during the perimenopausal transition or early postmenopause," says lead author Yolanda R. Smith, M.D., associate professor in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology at the U-M Medical School.

"Other studies have indicated that long-term hormone therapy is not beneficial for the prevention of chronic illnesses," Smith says. "But our study indicates that the effects of short-term hormone therapy on brain circuitry and function warrant further study."

The role of estrogen in maintaining brain function is of great significance as the population ages and the incidence of dementia increases, says senior author Jon-Kar Zubieta, M.D., Ph.D., associate professor of psychiatry and radiology at the U-M Medical School and associate research scientist at U-M's Molecular & Behavioral Neuroscience Institute (MBNI).

Zubieta notes that working memory -- that is, a limited-capacity storage system that allows the brain to actively maintain and manipulate information that is critical for conducting many daily activities over short time periods -- has been demonstrated to be less efficient in older adults. This decline has been linked with changes in the prefrontal cortex.

"Our finding of increased activation in the prefrontal cortex in older women using hormone therapy is important and suggestive of potential therapies that need to be explored further," he says. "Eventually, this could lead to new options for women as they enter a time when memory problems typically develop."

The researchers also point out that there have been shown to be risks with hormone replacement therapy. Information is available at http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/women/pht_facts.pdf.

In addition to Smith and Zubieta, other authors were Tiffany Love, B.S., of the U-M Department of Psychiatry and MBNI; Carol C. Persad, Ph.D., of the Department of Psychiatry; Anne Tkaczyk, M.S., of the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology; and Thomas E. Nichols, Ph.D., of the Department of Biostatistics at the U-M School of Public Health.

The research was supported in part by a grant from the National Center for Research Resources and an investigator-initiated grant from Pfizer Pharmaceuticals Group. Smith received an investigator-initiated grant from Pfizer Pharmaceuticals, Nichols has consulted for GlaxoSmithKline Inc., and Zubieta has received lecture fees from GlaxoSmith Kline Inc., Eli Lilly and Co., and Forest Laboratories.

Citation: The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, "Impact of Combined Estradiol and Norethindrone Therapy on Visuospatial Working Memory Assessed by Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging," first published ahead of print Aug. 15, 2006.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Michigan Health System. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Michigan Health System. "Hormone Replacement Therapy May Improve Visual Memory." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 16 November 2006. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/11/061116124723.htm>.
University of Michigan Health System. (2006, November 16). Hormone Replacement Therapy May Improve Visual Memory. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/11/061116124723.htm
University of Michigan Health System. "Hormone Replacement Therapy May Improve Visual Memory." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2006/11/061116124723.htm (accessed September 22, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Monday, September 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Sierra Leone in Lockdown to Control Ebola

Sierra Leone in Lockdown to Control Ebola

AP (Sep. 21, 2014) Sierra Leone residents remained in lockdown on Saturday as part of a massive effort to confine millions of people to their homes in a bid to stem the biggest Ebola outbreak in history. (Sept. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sierra Leone's Nationwide Ebola Curfew Underway

Sierra Leone's Nationwide Ebola Curfew Underway

Newsy (Sep. 20, 2014) Sierra Leone is locked down as aid workers and volunteers look for new cases of Ebola. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Changes Found In Brain After One Dose Of Antidepressants

Changes Found In Brain After One Dose Of Antidepressants

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) A study suggest antidepressants can kick in much sooner than previously thought. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) The study found elderly people are much more likely to become susceptible to infection than younger adults going though a similar situation. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins