328 W. Claiborne St.
P.O. Box 964
Monroeville, Alabama 36460
(251) 575-4203
Alzheimers Disease and other Cognitive Disorders
Basic Information
Introduction & Causes of Cognitive DisordersDementiaAlzheimer's DiseaseOther Cognitive DisordersDementia Coping Skills & Behavior ManagementTraumatic Brain Injury (TBI)Conclusion and Resources
More InformationLatest News
Education, Intelligence Might Protect Your BrainFor Some, Trouble Tracking Finances Could Be Sign of DementiaIt's Never Too Late for New Brain CellsHigh LDL Cholesterol Tied to Early-Onset Alzheimer'sDoes Hormone Therapy for Prostate Cancer Raise Dementia Risk?Could Alzheimer's Spread Like Infection Throughout the Brain?Newly Discovered Illness May Cause Nearly 1 in 5 Dementias, Experts SayFinancial Scammers Often Prey on People With Early DementiaMore Alzheimer's Drug Trial Failures: Are Researchers on the Wrong Track?Gum Disease Shows Possible Links to Alzheimer'sBrain Scans Spot, Track Alzheimer'sFewer Periods May Mean Higher Dementia RiskOnly Spoken Words Processed in Newly Discovered Brain RegionRate of U.S. Deaths Tied to Dementia Has More Than DoubledEven Distant Relatives' History Could Up Your Alzheimer's RiskDementia May Strike Differently, Depending on RaceHormone Therapy Linked to Slight Rise in Alzheimer's RiskSleep Apnea May Be Linked With Alzheimer's MarkerScientists Find 5 New Genes That Sway Alzheimer's RiskAre Hearing Loss, Mental Decline Related?Education No Match Against Alzheimer'sCould Gut Bacteria Be Linked to Dementia Risk?Plunging Temperatures a Threat to People With Alzheimer'sBlood Test Might Yield Early Warning of Alzheimer'sFrailty a Risk Factor for DementiaAHA: Blood Pressure May Explain Higher Dementia Risk in BlacksSleep Patterns May Offer Clues to Alzheimer'sDoes Alzheimer's Unfold Differently in Black Patients?Health Tip: Caring for a Person With Alzheimer'sAlzheimer's Vaccine Shows Promise in MiceKey Strategies When Caring for a Loved One With DementiaAHA: What's the Blood Pressure Connection to Alzheimer's Disease?Could Diabetes Drugs Help Curb Alzheimer's?Hard Arteries Hard on the Aging Brain?Widely Used Antipsychotics May Not Ease Delirium in ICUMap of Mouse Hippocampus Could Be Weapon Against Alzheimer'sHealth Tip: 10 Signs of Alzheimer'sA-Fib Tied to Higher Odds for DementiaAlzheimer's Gene Tied to 'Chemo Brain' in Breast Cancer SurvivorsWhat's the Dollar Cost of Caring for a Loved One With Alzheimer's?AHA: Stiffening of Blood Vessels May Point to Dementia RiskU.S. Alzheimer's Cases to Nearly Triple by 2060Daytime Drowsiness a Sign of Alzheimer's?Exercise May Boost Brain Power in Alzheimer's, Mouse Study SuggestsSeverity of Alzheimer's Can Vary by SeasonHealth Tip: Help Kids Understand Alzheimer'sEyes Could Be Window to Predicting Alzheimer'sDialysis Linked to Dementia in SeniorsWhen Head Injuries Make Life Too Hard, Suicide Risk May RiseMore Alzheimer's Gene Links Found
Related Topics

Aging & Geriatrics
Memory Problems
Elder Care

Having More Kids Tied to Lower Odds of Alzheimer's in Women

HealthDay News
by By Dennis Thompson
HealthDay Reporter
Updated: Jul 23rd 2018

new article illustration

MONDAY, July 23, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- A woman's fertility might help predict how likely she is to develop dementia later in life, two new studies suggest.

Women who were very fertile appeared to have some protection against dementia, a Kaiser Permanente study found.

This included women who had more children, more years of fertility, and menstruation that started earlier and ended later in their lives, explained lead researcher Paola Gilsanz. She is a staff scientist with the Kaiser Permanente Northern California division of research.

A second study, from the University of California, Los Angeles, found that women who experienced more months of pregnancy during their lives had a lower risk of Alzheimer's disease.

Both studies were to be presented Monday at the Alzheimer's Association annual meeting, in Chicago. Such research is considered preliminary until published in a peer-reviewed journal, and these studies did not prove that infertility causes dementia risk to rise.

There's been a lot of interest in sex-specific factors that could influence dementia risk, Gilsanz noted.

Almost two-thirds of Americans with Alzheimer's are women, according to the Alzheimer's Association.

"More women than men get dementia, and for a while it was thought because women were living longer. Now research is showing that's not the whole story," Gilsanz said. "Now we're asking, what is it about the biology of being a woman that could potentially modulate the risk of dementia?"

Kaiser Permanente researchers reviewed the health records of 14,595 women who were aged 40 to 55 between 1964 and 1973, to see if there were any associations between their reproductive history and dementia risk.

The investigators found that women with three or more children had a 12 percent lower risk of dementia than women with one child.

Further, the length of a woman's reproductive period -- the years during which she menstruates -- appeared to be tied to dementia risk:

  • Women with reproductive periods of 21 to 30 years were at 33 percent elevated risk of dementia, compared to women who were fertile 38 to 44 years.
  • Women who experienced their first menstrual period at age 16 or older were at 31 percent greater risk of dementia than those who reported their first menstrual period at age 13.
  • Women who underwent natural menopause at age 45 or earlier were at 28 percent greater risk of dementia than those who had their last menstrual period later than age 45.

No one can say for certain why fertility is associated with decreased dementia risk, Gilsanz said.

"There's some promising research about estrogen and how it may play a role in dementia," Gilsanz noted. "Animal models have shown estrogen might play a protective role."

The second study, which looked at 133 elderly British women, found that those who spent more of their lives pregnant were less likely to develop Alzheimer's.

Women had a 5.5 percent decrease in Alzheimer's risk for every month they were pregnant, the researchers found.

In this case, the researchers hypothesized that the beneficial effects of pregnancy on the immune system could play some role in future brain health.

The study's lead researcher, Molly Fox, said, "We are intrigued by the possibility that pregnancy may reorganize the mother's body in ways that could protect her against developing Alzheimer's later in life." Fox is an assistant professor of anthropology and psychiatry & biobehavioral sciences at UCLA.

"These results also suggest that the story might not be so simple as being all about estrogen exposure, as previous researchers have suggested," Fox said in a statement.

According to Keith Fargo, director of scientific programs and outreach at the Alzheimer's Association, these two studies "really fit into a larger narrative we've seen developing in dementia research" involving lifelong factors that can help or harm brain health as people age.

"We used to think about dementia risk as something to worry about in old age," but now researchers are turning their attention to factors in middle age and younger that influence brain health, Fargo said.

Other studies have shown that high blood pressure in middle age could make you more prone to dementia, and that diabetes also might have a detrimental effect.

In the case of these new findings, a number of factors could influence risk, Fargo said -- the immune system, nutrition throughout the woman's life, nutrition during pregnancy, and natural estrogen levels.

Fargo noted that all these potential causes are "speculation."

"It really calls for additional research," Fargo said of the findings. "I think it's an important clue, but we don't have the mechanism worked out just yet."

More information

The Alzheimer's Association has more about Alzheimer's disease.

328 W. Claiborne St.
P.O. Box 964
Alabama 36460
Tel: (251)575-4203

powered by centersite dot net