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Joanne Ryan and colleagues report, in a recent issue of Psychoneuroendocrinology, the effects of ‘lifetime’ exposure to estrogen on various measures of cognitive function [1]. The study emanates from observations of the French ESPRIT cohort, and encompasses the follow-up of 996 French women, aged 65 and older over 4 years. Rather on focusing on the effects of hormonal therapy on various cognitive domains, they primarily focus on recalled events, such as age of menarche, first birth, and age of menopause, to suggest whether these events may influence cognitive activity and dementia prevalence. Their conclusions suggest a mild beneficial effect of lifetime exposure to estrogen on several domains of cognitive functioning, as well as some beneficial effect of hormone therapy, in those women who were users. Of interest, there was more of an effect on visual memory than on verbal memory, which is usually what has been reported to be benefited by estrogen in women.


  • Roger A. Lobo
    Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Columbia University Medical Center, New York, USA


  1. Ryan J, Carriere I, Scali J, Ritchie K, Ancelin ML. Life-time estrogen exposure and cognitive functioning in later life. Psychoneuroendocrinology 2008 Oct 21. [Epub ahead of print].
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