Estradiol–key for women to maintain memory

New research helps paint a picture of the memory circuits in the brain that begin to change with age — in both males and females — and underscores the importance of steroid hormones, especially estradiol for women, in maintaining memory function.

Women have a two-fold higher risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease than men, yet strikingly little is known about how and why. Now, in a  study involving more than 200 healthy women and men ages 47 to 55, a team of researchers led by Jill Goldstein at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital reveals specific changes in memory function that correspond to sex and menopausal stage, rather than chronological age. The work implicates key areas of the brain that are vulnerable to age-related decline and highlights the importance of ovarian hormones in maintaining memory function.

Study was published in the Nov. 9 online issue of the journal Menopause.