Hormone replacement therapy to maintain cognitive function in women with dementia

Background As estrogens have been shown to have several potentially beneficial effects on the central nervous system, it is biologically plausible that maintaining high levels of estrogens in postmenopausal women by means of estrogen replacement therapy (ERT) could be protective against cognitive decline in women with Alzheimer’s disease (AD) or other dementia syndromes. Objectives To investigate the effects of ERT (estrogens only) or HRT (estrogens combined with a progestagen) compared with placebo in randomized controlled trials (RCTs) on cognitive function of postmenopausal women with dementia. Search methods TheCochraneDementia andCognitive ImprovementGroup SpecializedRegister,which contains records frommanymedical databases, The Cochrane Library, EMBASE,MEDLINE, CINAHL, PsycINFO and LILACS were searched on 7 November 2007 using the terms ORT, PORT, ERT, HRT, estrogen*, oestrogen* and progesterone*. Selection criteria All double-blind randomized controlled trials (RCTs) into the effect of ERT or HRT for cognitive function with a treatment period of at least two weeks in postmenopausal women with AD or other types of dementia. Data collection and analysis Abstracts of the references retrieved by the searches were read by two reviewers (EH and KY) independently in order to discard those that were clearly not eligible for inclusion. The two reviewers studied the full text of the remaining references and independently selected studies for inclusion. Any disparity in the ensuing lists was resolved by discussion with all reviewers in order to arrive at the final list of included studies. The selection criteria ensured that the blinding and randomization of the included studies was adequate. The two reviewers also assessed the quality of other aspects of the included trials. One reviewer (EH) extracted the data from the studies, but was aided and checked by JB from Cochrane.