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Estrogen Linked to Dementia in Elderly Men

Study finds association between elevated estradiol and Alzheimer disease, cognitive decline

MONDAY, July 24 (HealthDay News) -- Dementia in older men may be associated with elevated levels of estrogen but not testosterone, according to a report published online July 24 in the Annals of Neurology.

Mirjam Geerlings, Ph.D., of the University Medical Center Utrecht in the Netherlands, and colleagues examined 2,974 men, aged 71 to 93, who were enrolled in the prospective Honolulu-Asia Aging Study. Over an average period of six years, the researchers looked for signs of dementia and cognitive decline.

The investigators found that 134 men developed Alzheimer disease and 44 developed vascular dementia during the study period. Higher levels of estradiol, but not testosterone, were linked to a 1.25-fold hazard ratio for developing Alzheimer disease. Those in the top two tertiles of endogenous estradiol had lower scores on a test of cognitive ability than those in the lowest tertile.

"Our findings of an increased risk for cognitive decline and Alzheimer disease associated with higher estradiol levels are similar to recent findings in postmenopausal women," the authors write. "Further studies are needed to examine whether there are mechanisms by which estradiol may increase risk for cognitive decline and dementia."

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