Estrogen & Dementia, No Significant Link

We received a press release (see below) from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) headed "Estrogen-Alone Hormone Therapy Could Increase Risk of Dementia in Older Women."

Our Comment: We think this is a very misleading headline. In the study, 47 women were diagnosed with "probable dementia " -- 28 of them had taken estrogen only and 19 of them had taken a placebo. This is NOT a significant difference. It is a difference that could easily have occurred by chance alone.

The headline might better have read: "Estrogen-Alone Therapy Does Not Reduce the Risk of Dementia." That is accurate. But that is really nothing more than the recommendation that hormone therapy should not be used to prevent dementia in older women after the menopause, and that recommendation was made last year.

Barbara K. Hecht, Ph.D.
Frederick Hecht, M.D.
Medical Editors,

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