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Differential effects of estrogen and micronized progesterone or medroxyprogesterone acetate on cognition in postmenopausal women.

Author(s): Sherwin BB, Grigorova M.

Affiliation(s): Department of Psychology, McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada. barbara.sherwin@mcgill.ca

Publication date & source: 2011, Fertil Steril. , 96(2):399-403

OBJECTIVE: To investigate possible differential effects of the coadministration of conjugated equine estrogen (CEE) and a placebo (CEE + PL), CEE and medroxyprogesterone acetate (CEE + MPA), or CEE and micronized P (CEE + MP) on aspects of cognitive functioning in naturally postmenopausal women. DESIGN: Double-blind, randomized, controlled trial. SETTING: Gynecologic screening occurred at a university hospital, and neuropsychological testing took place in a university laboratory. PATIENT(S): Twenty-four naturally menopausal women with an intact uterus who had never used hormone therapy were recruited by means of newspaper advertisements. All completed the study. INTERVENTION(S): A battery of mood and neuropsychological tests was administered. Women were randomly assigned to receive CEE + PL (n = 7), CEE + MPA (n = 9), or CEE + MP (n = 8). The tests were readministered 12 weeks later. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE(S): Standardized tests of mood, verbal memory, working memory, spatial abilities, and visual-spatial sequencing, and assays of serum sex hormone levels. RESULT(S): Mood improved after treatment in all groups. No changes in scores occurred over time in any cognitive test in the group that received CEE + PL. Only the CEE + MP group had a significant decrease in their delayed verbal memory scores from baseline to after treatment. The CEE + MP-treated women performed significantly better on a test of working memory than women in the other two groups. CONCLUSION(S): Coadministration of CEE with MPA or MP caused differential effects on aspects of memory in postmenopausal women. These findings need to be replicated with a larger sample size before their potential clinical implications can be determined.

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