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Estrogen For Alzheimer's Disease

    Women who use estrogen regularly have a lower risk for alzheimer's disease [57-58]. Why does estrogen reduce risk? There may be multiple factors involved. Estrogen increases blood flow to the brain [59]. One very interesting study measured brain blood flow in healthy,non-demented,postmenopausal women. It turns out that these women have reduced blood flow to their brains, just like alzheimer patients do. When these same women are put on estrogen therapy, their brain blood flow returns to normal [60].
Estrogen may reduce risk by decreasing the toxicity of the amyloid beta protein, which is believed responsible for alzheimer's disease. Estrogen protects cultured brain cells from the toxic effects of amyloid beta [61]. Estrogen also encourages special brain cells, called microglia, to dispose of amyloid beta [62].
Estrogen has direct effects on memory and learning. Estrogen increases cognitive ability in healthy women without dementia [63-64]. Estrogen also has beneficial effects on cognition in alzheimer patients. Estrogen increases Mini Mental State Exam scores [65-66]. Estrogen also slows cognitive decline in alzheimer patients [67]. Estrogen can safely be given to alzheimer patients who take Aricept. In fact,the combination of Aricept and estrogen increases Mini Mental State Exam scores better in patients than either drug alone [68].
Estrogen effectively controls aggression when given to male alzheimer patients [69]. One study,using estrogen delivery via skin patches, reports that aggression is reduced by up to 50 percent in male alzheimer patients; in these males, estrogen works quickly in one to three days. Mood improves with minimal sedation. The only side effect is gynecomastia [70].