An estrogen alternative does not appear to have one of the possible benefits of the real hormone protection against mental decline.
Some research has suggested that taking estrogen reduces the risk of getting Alzheimer's disease for post-menopausal women.
In a study reported in today's New England of Journal, researchers looked at the effect of an estrogen alternative, Evista, on mental ability. Evista, an osteoporosis drug also known as raloxifene, mimics estrogen in strengthening bones but without the increased risk of breast cancer.
In the study, 7,478 women with osteoporosis were given either one of two doses of Evista or a dummy pill for three years. They were periodically given a series of tests that measure such things as memory, concentration and learning.
The researchers concluded that Evista did not have an overall effect on cognitive function.
The study was conducted by researchers at the University of California at San Francisco and San Diego and at Eli Lilly, which makes Evista and supported the study along with the National Institutes of Health. Some of the researchers have received research support from Lilly or other drug makers.