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Alzheimer’s Disease caused by Low Estrogen in Brain Tissue

December 22nd, 2005

Alzheimer’s Disease caused by Low Estrogen in Brain Tissue

Neurofibrillary Tangles (left) Senile Plaque ( right)

Studies of post-mortem brains of women that suffered of Alzheimer’s disease showed they had significantly lower levels of estrogen in their brain tissue compared to women of similar age without the disorder.

First reported in this week’s online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the research shows that the lower level of estrogen can increase a women’s risk of having Alzheimer’s disease.  It is more common for women to suffer of Alzheimer’s compared to men.  One reason this is so is that women generally live longer, but the estrogen link may also contribute to a potential aid in preventing this debilitating disease.

Estrogen reduction alone does not insure that women will get Alzheimer’s, less than a quarter of women will get Alzheimer’s.  

Dr. Rena Li who is the senior author of the report as well as the principal scientist and associate professor at Sun Health Research Institute in Sun City, Arizona said, "The most common hypothesis is that women have a reduction of estrogen after menopause".  Dr. Li continued by saying, "If estrogen reduction is the mechanism, then all women reaching menopause should have some degree of Alzheimer's -- and that's not true."

Dr. Li and her research team thought that possibly fat and brain tissue in addition to ovarian tissue would also be estrogen producing organs.  Although ovarian tissue retires from producing estrogen after menopause, the other organs typically do not. 


They further researched mice that were genetically made to have Alzheimer’s disease with an estrogen deficiency in the brain.  They watched for protein plaques call beta-amyloid within the brain tissue to insure that the mice with estrogen deficiency did in fact get Alzheimer’s disease. 

Previous researchers have only looked at blood serum levels of estrogen and have not researched brain tissue estrogen levels before.  Dr. Li’s research team will further study animals for potential drugs that may help to restore the loss of brain estrogen deficiency in hopes to prevent Alzheimer’s disease from occurring.

Related Alzheimer's article:

Alzheimer’s Disease could be Caused by a New Type 3 Diabetes

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By Nicole Wilson
Best Syndication Staff Writer

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Copyright 2005 Best Syndication                                            Last Updated Saturday, July 10, 2010 09:46 PM