MinervaBMJ 2002; 324 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.324.7332.308 (Published 02 February 2002) Cite this as: BMJ 2002;324:308
Menopausal women often say they notice memory problems, and evidence from hormonal studies backs this up. Now tests of memory in 16 young women throughout their menstrual cycle have thrown up some surprising findings. Performance on recollection tests was the same throughout the cycle. But at the mid-luteal phase (high hormone levels) they did better at tests that don't rely on recalling specific events or objects than during the early follicular stage, when there are lower levels of hormones (Neuropsychologia2002;40:518-29).
More hormones and memory. Oestrogen has long been under scrutiny for its possible benefits in delaying or preventing Alzheimer's disease. The latest thinking is that testosterone on its own or in combination with oestrogen may be what's important, rather than oestrogen alone. Testosterone (with or without oestrogen) seems to prevent some of the abnormalities in the tau protein that cause the neurofibrillary tangles found in brains of people with Alzheimer' disease (www.pnas.org/cgi/doi/10.1073/pnas.032646799). Older men might benefit from hormone replacement therapy after all.
Minerva's impression that there are more colds around at the moment than people with flu is confirmed by the Pharmaceutical Journal (2002;268:51). To …