AGE
, Volume 31, Issue 3, pp 199-210
Date: 10 Mar 2009

Frontiers proposal. National Institute on Aging “bench to bedside: estrogen as a case study”

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Abstract

On 28–29 September 2004, the National Institute on Aging (NIA) convened scientists for a workshop on the aging female brain focused on translating into clinical practice discoveries concerning estrogens and progestogens. Workshop objectives were to examine effects of estrogen and progestogen on brain and cognitive function in relation to aging, to examine consistencies and apparent discrepancies between Women’s Health Initiative Memory Study findings and other research on cognitive function, to determine whether additional hormone interventions could be developed in this area, and to offer advice on design of clinical trials for other interventions that might ameliorate cognitive aging. Following the workshop, participants joined by other interested scientists organized into regional work groups to continue the dialogue begun in Bethesda and to propose recommendations for NIA. The resulting recommendations, referred to as the “Frontiers Proposal for Estrogen and Cognitive Aging”, acknowledge the persistence of critical gaps in our understanding of how decline in ovarian steroid secretion during reproductive aging and use of ovarian steroid hormone therapy affect normal brain function and risk for late-life neurodegenerative disorders such as Alzheimer’s disease. There is a pressing need for preclinical, human, and integrated studies on the relationship between the menopausal transition and midlife exposures to estrogens, progestogens and related compounds, and risks for age-associated cognitive disorders. Research is also needed on better predictors of adverse cognitive outcomes, valid biomarkers for risks associated with hormone therapy use, enhanced tools for monitoring brain function and disease progression, and novel forms of therapy for improving long-term cognitive outcomes.

Frontiers Proposal for Estrogen and Cognitive Aging Writing Group on behalf of the Frontiers Proposal for Estrogen and Cognitive Aging Work Groups. Writing Group members are Sanjay Asthana, Roberta Diaz Brinton, Victor W. Henderson, Bruce S. McEwen, John H. Morrison, and Peter J. Schmidt. Work Group members and their affiliations are given in the Appendix.