According to a recent small study, the longer and higher exposure to estrogen in middle-aged women, the larger their gray matter volume and the lower their risk of developing Alzheimer’s.

To come to this conclusion, the study investigated information of 128 participants (99 women and 29 men, aged 40-65) with risk factors for Alzheimer’s (family history or the APOE4 gene). The information included reproductive history events, brain scans and memory tests to assess their thinking and language skills.

It turned out that exposure to estrogen by not having reached menopause, longer reproductive span, higher number of children, and using either hormone therapy or hormonal contraceptives, were all linked to larger gray matter volumes and better scores on memory tests in midlife women.

Although the study established a link between exposure to estrogen and risk of Alzheimer’s, the researchers highlight that their findings couldn’t definitely confirm that lower estrogen would lead to the brain disease. A further investigation required to understand how exactly reproductive history influences brain health and risk of Alzheimer’s.

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Tatsiana Haponava, PhD

a certified nutrition coach, educator and researcher with a PhD degree

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