Reproductive history signals of longer estrogen exposure in women linked to brain imaging biomarkers of dementia risk

Takeaway

  • Reproductive history indicators of longer estrogen exposure in women are associated with larger magnetic resonance imaging-derived gray matter volume in brain regions vulnerable to cognitive aging and Alzheimer’s disease.

Why this matters

  • Magnetic resonance imaging-based gray matter volume is a widely recognized biomarker of neuronal aging and Alzheimer’s disease-related neurodegeneration. This is the first brain imaging study to evaluate the impact of reproductive health indicators on Alzheimer’s disease risk in midlife, when potential for protection of cognitive function is greatest.

  • These important findings identify reproductive history events associated with gray matter volume vulnerability and resilience in midlife women; better understanding of how reproductive history modulates brain aging could ultimately lead to better prevention of cognitive decline and targeted therapies.