Hormone therapy can make the brain 'younger'

Tests on postmenopausal women taking hormone therapy (HT) suggest that the drugs can make their brains function more like those of younger women.  

A study by Durham University found that, when women taking HT were asked to complete tasks of fine motor coordination, such as sequential finger tapping, the left and right sides of the brain worked more closely together than women of the same age who were not taking the sex hormone drugs.

Researchers say this mirrors the brain activity of younger women who naturally produce the sex hormones in their bodies.

The results contribute to a better understanding of the influence of sex hormones on the brain, although more research is needed to show how this affects the tasks carried out by women in their everyday lives.

Ultimately, researchers hope to find out if sex hormones can make the brain more resistant to damage through stroke or other injuries.

The study is published in the academic journal Hormones and Behavior and was funded by the German Research Foundation (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft).