Newswise — an article by influential journal advances in neurobiology provided one of the first comprehensive reviews of how potentially estrogen may protect against Alzheimer's disease and other neurological diseases.
Article by senior author Lydia DonCarlos, PhD, and colleagues detail how estrogen "decreases the risk and delay the onset and progression of Alzheimer's disease and schizophrenia, and may also improve recovery from traumatic neurological lesions, such as stroke."
The article has recently reached the milestone of having been mentioned 500 times scholarly articles, books, theses, abstracts, etc., according to a count of Google Scholar.
Another index of Web of Science Citation, of Thomson Reuters, has counted 471 citations to the article. In comparison, the average number of citations to other documents on Neuroscience and behavior, published the same year is 34.5.
Article by DonCarlos, "Neuroprotection of estradiol," was published in January 2001. (Oestradiol is a type of estrogen). Since the publication, more data on women's health initiative and other studies have refined understanding of the scientists, the benefits and risks of exposure to estrogen, said DonCarlos. DonCarlos, a neuroendocrinologist at the health system of Loyola University, has written articles for later revision of estrogen and the brain.
Estrogen may protect against dementia and other neurological disorders, decreasing the inflammatory responses and strengthening the capacity of cells to survive an injury. "It is a natural way to the brain protect itself, given that the brain is normally estrodial neuroprotective in response to injury," said DonCarlos.
But there are also risks. Women's health initiative found that taking estrogen and progestin increased the risk of heart disease, blood clots, stroke, breast cancer.
DonCarlos and other researchers are studying agents called selective estrogen receptor Modulators (SERMs) that could potentially provide the benefits of estrogen without risk. Such an agent is tamoxifen, which reduces the risk of breast cancer by blocking estrogen receptors in breast. In the bones, tamoxifen has the opposite effect by acting like estrogen. This has the beneficial effect of reducing the risk of osteoporosis, said DonCarlos.
"We are trying other SERMs that potentially could help protect the brain, without increasing the risk of breast cancer or other adverse effects," said DonCarlos.
Most studies suggest that estrogen has beneficial effects on cognitive function, DonCarlos added. "But we still have a lot of research before recommending the use of estrogens in the clinic for this purpose".
DonCarlos is a professor in the Department of cell and Molecular Physiology Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of medicine. His co-authors of the book of 2001 are Luis Miguel Garcia-Segura (first author), Professor at the Institute of Cajal in Madrid and past President of the Spanish society of neuroscience and I?igo Azcoitia, Associate Professor of biology at the University Complutense of Madrid.