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Early menopause may mean dementia at younger age

Kathleen Blanchard's picture

Researchers studied individuals with Down syndrome to find a link between early menopause and younger onset of dementia. Tonnie Coppus of Erasmus Medical Center studied women with Down syndrome who experience early menopause, finding a strong relationship between early menopause and dementia that she believes can be applied to all women.

Coppus says, "Women with Down Syndrome with an early onset of menopause also appear to suffer from dementia at an early age. In addition, my study shows that these women also die younger."

Scientists at the Epidemiology department of Erasmus MC have been studying 500 women with Down syndrome, age 44 to 52 since 2000 who develop the same outcomes at an accelerated rate that women do in the general population, and serves to warn women who experience early menopause about their risk for developing early dementia.

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Amyloid plaque that builds in the brain occurs at a higher rates for those with Down syndrome becaus of chromosomal abnormalities. Coppus says "Studying the various factors that influence the development of Alzheimer's disease among people with Down Syndrome also improves our understanding of the role of amyloid in the development of Alzheimer's disease within the general population." The researcher also says early menopause and dementia translate to a risk of dying younger.

"As dementia itself also leads to a reduced life expectancy, I made calculations in which I corrected the results of the effect of dementia on death. Despite this, the relationship between early menopause onset and dying young remains", explains Coppus. The research results provide substantial information on the relationship between menopause and dementia and the relationship between menopause and death."

Speak with your doctor about how you can reduce your risk of Alzheimer's disease linked to early menopause. Remaining active, consuming a healthy diet, consuming fish, controlling blood pressure and remaining intellectually stimulated and happy can reduce risk of dementia now associated with early menopause.

Journal of Alzheimer's Disease