20. Estrogen and Memory

Teresa Milner, Weill Cornell Medical College, Neurobiology, conducted a study that demonstrated the importance of estrogen in learning and memory processes. In collaboration with research staff Vladmir Znamensky and colleagues at The Rockefeller University, Milner discovered new evidence that estrogen regulates the ability of the brain to learn and encode memories. Milner studied animal tissue to explore how estrogen signaling affects the condition of a neuron. Previous research has shown that high levels of estrogen are important for maintaining the plasticity of a neuron, which is important for learning and memory processes. This plasticity decreases with aging. It is also directly affected in neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease, which is almost twice as prevalent among women after menopause. The research suggests that some form of estrogen replacement therapy may be advantageous for women after menopause.

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