Researchers at the National Institute on Aging have another reason for postmenopausal women to consider estrogen replacement therapy: it may help slow normal, age-related declines in memory.
In the December issue of Neurology, the researchers reported on 288 women enrolled in the Baltimore Longitudinal Study of Aging between 1978 and 1994. They compared scores on a visual memory test taken by 116 women receiving estrogen therapy with the scores of 172 women who had never used any type of hormone replacement. On average, the women taking estrogen scored about 2 fewer errors than women who were never treated with estrogen, which the researchers said was a significant difference. They also noted that the study was the first to document the effect of estrogen on visual memory; previous studies have indicated that estrogen may have an effect on verbal memory.
Voelker R. Estrogen and Memory. JAMA. 1998;279(4):262. doi:10.1001/jama.279.4.262-JQU71030-3-1