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Pre-Menopausal Oophorectomy Linked to Brain Disorders

Long-term studies show increased risk of cognitive impairment, dementia and Parkinson disease

THURSDAY, Aug. 30 (HealthDay News) -- Women who undergo oophorectomy before menopause may be at higher risk of developing cognitive impairment, dementia or Parkinson disease, suggesting that estrogen plays a neuroprotective role, according to two studies published online Aug. 29 in Neurology.

Walter A. Rocca, M.D., of the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., and colleagues studied 813 women with unilateral oophorectomy, 676 women with bilateral oophorectomy, and 1,472 controls. Compared to controls, women who underwent either type of oophorectomy before menopause had a significantly increased risk of cognitive impairment or dementia (hazard ratio, 1.46) and that the risk was highest among those who underwent surgery at younger ages.

In the second study, Rocca and colleagues studied 1,252 women with unilateral oophorectomy, 1,075 women with bilateral oophorectomy, and 2,368 controls. Compared to controls, women who underwent either type of oophorectomy before menopause had a significantly increased risk of Parkinson disease (HR, 1.68).

"This study is one of the first to support the hypothesis of a critical age window for the protective effect of estrogen on the nigrostriatal pathway in humans," the authors conclude. "However, independent replication of our findings is needed before they can be considered in guiding gynecological practices."

Abstract
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