Menopausal Hormone Therapy and the Mind: The Role of Hormone Replacement in the Prevention and Treatment of Cognitive Decline, Dementia, and Cognitive Dysfunction of Depression

This article was originally published here

Harv Rev Psychiatry. 2022 May 26. doi: 10.1097/HRP.0000000000000339. Online ahead of print.


Menopause has been associated with subjective cognitive dysfunction and elevated rates of depression. While menopausal hormone therapy (MHT) is Food and Drug Administration-approved for the treatment of vasomotor symptoms related to menopause, a potential role for MHT in treating and preventing cognitive decline, dysfunction, and dementia has remained unclear and a topic of continued interest and debate across decades of research. Increasing numbers of patients are seeking help for subjective cognitive decline, and those with poorer mental health are substantially more likely to perceive themselves to be at high risk of developing dementia; thus, mental health professionals are likely to encounter such patients and may be asked to provide advice concerning MHT, cognition, and indications for MHT use. Here, we synthesize the neurobiological effects of MHT, make recommendations for its use in current clinical practice in the contexts of cognitive dysfunction associated with major depressive disorder, cognitive decline, and Alzheimer’s disease, and discuss the frontiers being explored by ongoing research on this topic. We conclude that MHT to improve cognitive functioning has only a few scenarios where it would be recommended and that particular caution may be warranted for carriers of the APOE ε4 allele.

PMID:35616610 | DOI:10.1097/HRP.0000000000000339