Currently, around 55 million people live with dementiaaccording to data from the World Health Organization (WHO), which indicates that the 60-70% of these cases are due to Alzheimer’s. According to the WHO, dementia disproportionately harms women, not only because they develop this disease more frequently, but also because they are usually the caregivers of other people who suffer from it.
A new study to be presented during the 2023 Annual Meeting of the Menopause Society in Philadelphia from September 27 to 30 has revealed a fact that could explain why Women are more likely to suffer from Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and that, in addition, it would be considered an early indicator of the greater risk of a woman suffering from this degenerative pathology: hot flashes that women experience during the menopause transitionespecially when they occur during sleep.
Dr. Rebecca Thurston, director of Women’s Biobehavioral Health at the University of Pittsburgh, and Dr. Pauline Maki, professor of Psychiatry at the University of Illinois at Chicago, led the study, whose results concluded that hot flashes experienced during Sleep may be a marker of women at risk for AD dementia. Additionally, a greater number of hot flashes during sleep was associated with a greater likelihood of developing Alzheimer’s.
“It is important that we learn as much as possible about the possible causes and warning signs [del alzhéimer] so that we can be proactive before the onset of this dementia”
“Among other things, these findings indicate that for women who experience frequent hot flashes, particularly during sleep, measures to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s dementia may be warranted,” Dr. Thurston said in a press release. of the Menopause Society.
Symptoms of menopause associated with Alzheimer’s
Women, these scientists explain, represent two-thirds of people with Alzheimer’s and there are several theories about the reasons for this. Many experts attribute this to the decline in estrogen levels that occur during the menopause transition, and previous studies have related one of the most common symptoms of menopause (hot flashes) with worse memory performance and alterations in brain structure, function and connectivity. However, it is unknown whether hot flashes are associated with biomarkers of Alzheimer’s disease.
Scientific advances in the early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s include the development of blood biomarkers of this dementia, which have proven to be especially useful in evaluating the risk of suffering from the disease decades before its onset. These biomarkers were used as part of the new study involving nearly 250 middle-aged women, which aimed to determine whether objectively assessed hot flashes are associated with adverse AD biomarker profiles.
The researchers monitored the frequency of hot flashes in the participants using wearable sensors that measured external skin temperature. Subsequently, they cross-referenced the data from this measurement with the presence of other known biomarkers that serve as indicators of the risk of suffering from Alzheimer’s. The findings showed a robust association between the frequency of hot flashes and increased white matter hyperintensities, a clear sign of blood vessel disease in the brain.
“Given the adverse effect on quality of life and the economic burden of AD, it is important that we learn as much as possible about the possible causes and warning signs so that we can be proactive before the onset of this dementia,” highlights Dr. Stephanie Faubion, medical director of The Menopause Society, added that “this study highlights the need for open and ongoing dialogues between patients and their healthcare professionals so that all treatment options can be carefully considered.”