REMEMBER pilot study shows early HRT helps memory

Friday, 20 January 2006

It's all in the timing for women using hormone replacement therapy (HRT) at the onset of menopause or after hysterectomy, according to the latest research from the University of Adelaide.

A team of University of Adelaide researchers led by Professor Alastair MacLennan have completed a pilot study into HRT use and its effect on cognitive function entitled REMEMBER (Research into Memory, Brain function and Estrogen Replacement).

The pilot study of 428 women has shown that those aged over 60 years who had taken HRT from early in menopause have less memory loss than women who took no HRT during menopause.

Professor Alastair MacLennan said, "This study has shown us that using HRT early in menopause, or even just before the final menstrual period, resulted in better cognitive performance later in life than in women of similar age and background who had never used HRT.

"However, starting HRT many years after menopause was not associated with any cognitive benefit."

Tests of cognitive performance measured attention, concentration, short-term
verbal and visual memory and depression.

This initial research was undertaken by the Departments of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, Psychology, General Practice and Public Health at the University of Adelaide, and Population Research and Outcomes Studies Unit at the SA Department of Health.

"The consistent trends seen in this work suggest that timing of commencement of hormone replacement therapy may be critical in the slowing or speeding up of cognitive decline.

"We are now seeking funding to further the research with larger groups of women," Professor MacLennan said.


Contact Details

Emeritus Professor Alastair MacLennan
Head, Cerebral Palsy Research Group, Robinson Research Institute
The University of Adelaide
Business: +61 8 8313 1337
Mobile: +61 (0)400 383 144

Ms Bronwen Paine
Department of General Practice
Business: +61 8 8313 4528