Oestrogen patch for sharper memory?

January 25th, 2011 - 3:04 pm ICT by IANS  

London, Jan 25 (IANS) An oestrogen skin patch could boost memory in post-menopausal women, researchers say.Latest theories suggest that the hormone, which drops during menopause, also has a protective effect on nerve cells in the brain, including those involved in memory.

The implications of the clinical trial could be enormous, say researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital and the National Institute on Ageing, both in the US.

The new trial in Massachusetts will see 60 participants being divided into three groups - post menopausal women aged 45 to 55 and 70 to 80, and women under 40 who have experienced an early menopause, the Daily Mail reports

By scanning the brains of the women at 48 hours into the trial and then again at 30 days, the researchers will track any changes in the areas associated with ­working memory and declarative memory, according to a Massachusetts statement.

Using two types of brain scans - PETs and functional MRIs, which track blood flow and ­physical changes - researchers will be able to see whether these memory regions become more active in women wearing an oestrogen patch.

Increased blood flow in a brain region, along with the area becoming thicker over a period of time, signal an increase in brain cell activity.

It has also been suggested that the hormone may lower the risk of dementia, possibly by protecting brain cells (neurons) from harmful chemicals produced in the ageing process.

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