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Dementia risk linked to high oestrogen levels and diabetes in older women

Research carried out by the French National Institute of Health and Medical Research has shown that older women with naturally high levels of oestrogen who also suffer from diabetes are more likely to go on to develop dementia. In fact, they’re 14 times more likely to suffer from the condition than those without diabetes.

Elevated risk

As reported in the Journal of the American Academy of Neurology, the study also showed that higher levels of oestrogen alone led to increased dementia risk. The research looked at 5,644 women aged 65 or over without dementia, measuring their oestrogen levels. After 4 years, the group was assessed for dementia, with the results concluding that of the 132 women suffering dementia, those with oestrogen levels higher or lower than normal were twice as likely to develop the condition. There were 10 women with both high oestrogen levels and diabetes, and they were 14 times more likely to be affected by dementia.

Further studies needed

The Director of Research and Development at the Alzheimer’s Society, Dr Doug Brown, commented, ‘It is surprising to see that older women with both naturally high oestrogen levels and diabetes were so much more likely to develop dementia. However as this only applied to 10 women, we need to conduct much larger studies before reaching any conclusions.’

If the link between diabetes and dementia is confirmed, healthier diet and regular exercise could help to reduce the risk of dementia in women over 65.