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Posted: February 07, 2013

Researchers hope $5.8 million grant will open window of opportunity for hormone treatment, brain health


DSC_0598.jpg With the graying of the world's population, increasing numbers of women are reaching the age of menopause and will likely consider hormone therapy to treat menopausal symptoms including "hot-flushes."  But research is showing those hormone treatments also could help maintain a healthy brain by protecting brain cells. So, when should a woman initiate estrogen/hormone therapy and for how long?

Meharvan "Sonny" Singh, PhD, Chairman and Professor of the Pharmacology and Neuroscience Department at UNT Health Science Center, and his team recently received a five-year program project grant from the National Institutes of Health to continue their research that explores the biological basis for a finite "window of opportunity" for estrogen and progesterone treatment to benefit the brain.

Through the studies proposed in this $5.8 million grant, Singh's team of scientists will identify some of the cellular and molecular machinery that is required for estrogen and progesterone to benefit the brain. Then the researchers intend to define how these cellular and molecular components of the brain expand the "therapeutic window" and help ensure that the hormones don't have negative effects on brain function. 

Results could lead to safer and more effective therapeutic strategies for treating menopause and reducing the risk for various brain disorders (including Alzheimer's disease) that increases during the post-menopausal period.

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