Does genetic testing for ERα gene polymorphisms provide new possibilities of treatment for cognitive function disorders in postmenopausal women?
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Submission date: 2016-06-06
Final revision date: 2016-07-16
Acceptance date: 2016-07-31
Online publication date: 2016-09-22
Publication date: 2017-08-18
Arch Med Sci 2017;13(5):1224–1232
It is commonly considered that cognitive abilities decrease with age, especially with respect to processing and psychomotor speed. It is an interesting issue whether, apart from the ageing process, the undergoing of menopause itself deteriorates cognitive functions, compared to women at reproductive age. Hopes for improvement of cognitive functions were pinned on the use of menopausal hormone therapy. However, the results of studies concerning the effect of hormone replacement therapy on cognition proved to be contradictory. It seems that the essence of the problem is more complicated than only estrogen deficiency. It is suggested that estrogen receptor α (ERα) polymorphism may be responsible for the differences in the effect of estrogens on cognitive processes. The article presents current knowledge concerning the effect of estrogens on the central nervous system, especially the role of ERα polymorphism, with respect to foreseeing benefits from the use of exogenous estrogens for cognitive functions. At the present stage of research, ERα appears to be poorly specific; nevertheless, it may be an important instrument for the classification of peri- and post-menopausal patients in the group where therapy with the use of estrogens may bring about benefits in terms of prevention and treatment of cognitive disorders. It also seems necessary to conduct prophylactic, screening examination of cognitive functions in post-menopausal women, in order to identify those at risk of the development of dementia.