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Estrogen and performance in recognition memory for olfactory and visual stimuli in females diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  17 May 2006

ERIN SUNDERMANN
Affiliation:
Department of Psychology, San Diego State University, San Diego, California
PAUL E. GILBERT
Affiliation:
Department of Psychology, San Diego State University, San Diego, California Department of Head and Neck Surgery, University of California School of Medicine, San Diego, California
CLAIRE MURPHY
Affiliation:
Department of Psychology, San Diego State University, San Diego, California Department of Head and Neck Surgery, University of California School of Medicine, San Diego, California

Abstract

Patients with Alzheimer's disease (AD) exhibit a deficit in episodic recognition memory for odors. It is hypothesized that the higher rate of AD in women may be due to estrogen-deprivation in postmenopausal women. Research suggests that estrogen may help to minimize cognitive decline in AD as well as postmenopausal olfactory loss. The current study examined the effects of estrogen replacement therapy (ERT) on performance of a recognition memory task for olfactory and visual stimuli in women AD patients. Participants included 24 women AD patients who were ERT users and 77 women AD patients who never used ERT. Compared with the ERT non-users, the ERT users committed significantly less false-positive memory errors for olfactory stimuli, whereas performance for visual stimuli did not differentiate between ERT users and non-users. The results suggest benefits of ERT could help ameliorate the earliest symptoms of AD, olfactory dysfunction, and memory impairment. (JINS, 2006, 12, 400–404.)

Type
Research Article
Copyright
© 2006 The International Neuropsychological Society

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