This week on news flash we’ve got some good and bad news. Firstly the bad news, the government rejected the proposal to allow leave for women and people experiencing menopause systems. The good news is that hormone replacement therapy (HRT) has been found to have the potential to prevent Alzheimer's in some women.
Rejected menopause law
Last summer the cross-party women and equalities committee recommended that menopause should be a protected characteristic under the equality act like race or religion. This was then proposed to the UK government and unfortunately was rejected on the basis of it potentially causing new forms of discrimination against men with long-term health issues. WTF? They also rejected the notion to trial menopause leave as they said it may be ‘counterproductive’.
Menopause is a complex process that every woman and person with a uterus goes through. Menopause normally occurs between 45 to 55 years and symptoms can last up to 10 years in some people. Symptoms can range and can include anxiety, mood swings, brain fog, hot flushes, and irregular periods. These can affect relationships and daily life for every person and it’s so disheartening to take a step back when leveling the playing field in the working world.
HRT can prevent Alzheimer's
On a bit of a better note, the University of East Anglia has conducted a study that has found that HRT may improve memory, cognition, and improve brain volumes later in life for women carrying the APOE4 gene - a gene that has repeatedly been found to be associated with Alzheimer’s disease in women and that 25% of women in the UK carry. With more than 2/3 of Alzheimer’s patients being women, any progression within the Alzheimer’s world for women is welcomed.
The study included looked at sex, age, years of education, whether they were right-handed or left-handed, and marital status. They then ran some cognitive tests and measured brain volume. Then a lot of complicated and interesting statistical analyses were performed and it was finally concluded that HRT did show some improvement in memory, cognition, and brain volume. It was specifically found that the administration of HRT during early menopause and perimenopause was the most effective method in increasing brain volume in carriers of the APOE4 gene.
Fun fact: HRT has also been of high interest in Brazil as there are rumours that it can help maintain a youthful look and ‘postpone’ aging. However, no research has been done to confirm this and we do not endorse this.
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Saleh, R.N.M., Hornberger, M., Ritchie, C.W. et al. Hormone replacement therapy is associated with improved cognition and larger brain volumes in at-risk APOE4 women: results from the European Prevention of Alzheimer’s Disease (EPAD) cohort. Alz Res Therapy 15, 10 (2023). https://doi.org/10.1186/s13195-022-01121-5