We have much brain reserve, much power to improve our learning, and ability to function at a very high level until the time of death. Yet it’s always a goal to do better! The best antiaging brain boost strategies involve lifestyle modifications. The critical common denominator for those changes is better cardiovascular health. The better you are able to exercise, relax, get proper sleep, and nutrition, the better your brain power will be from youth to old age. Lots of strategies may enhance these basic instructions. French lessons, to exercise, to positive thinking have been opined as the solution to brain boost, and we have long discussed that beginning hormone therapy was just one more intervention that has not proven that your physician can impact on your ability to think better as you age.
Multiple studies including the Seattle Midlife Women’s Health Study showed that 60% of women in the menopausal transition report decreased memory function over the past few years, including forgetfulness. The Decision at Menopause study was also relied upon for some of their findings, so make no mistake you probably have lost some brain function as you age. Depression can decrease verbal memory by 30% and it's important to treat depression, whether it is due to hormone levels or other factors. . Since hormone therapy can influence the health of the brain, and can influence the quality of one’s sleep, we always thought that adding in estrogen therapy would improve thought. And when to ad in the estrogen therapy, early or late menopause, has been debated. So the ELITE study attempted to ask hormone therapy has different effects on thought function depending on whether you are in the early or late postmenopausal years, and cognitive part of the study — ELITE-Cog — was published online in Neurology on July 15. Their conclusions were unfortunately that "results show there is no cognitive benefit or harm of estradiol over a 5-year period in either early or late menopausal women," lead author, Victor W. Henderson, MD, Stanford University, California, commented to Medscape Medical News. They based their studies on the use of estrogen in 567 healthy women age 41 to 84 given oral 17β-estradiol, 1 mg/d, or placebo. They were looking at verbal memory, and they studied only women with good memory at the start of the study. There has remained strong evidence that hormone therapy, initiated what is termed ‘early’ meaning as you transition through or in the first few years of menopause, has significant beneficial cardiovascular effects, while it is clear that late hormone therapy can contribute or worsen heart disease. This study didn’t look at the question as to whether estrogen affects dementia/Alzheimer's. And ultimately better cardiovascular health will bring better healing and nurturing blood to the brain, and that is what is going to preserve brain health .
Neurology. Published online July 15, 2016. Abstract