While most postmenopausal women experience hot flashes, a new study links this symptom to an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
In addition to being unpleasant during menopause, hot flashes may also represent a risk factor in Alzheimer’s disease, according to the findings of a study, presented at the annual meeting of the Menopause Society, which takes place currently held in Philadelphia. However, these conclusions should be taken with caution, as the studies have not yet been published.
Hot flashes: a risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease?
In this study, researchers brought together a cohort of nearly 250 women, aged 45 to 67, suffering from symptoms related to menopause. They were provided with a device to objectively measure the quality of their sleep for three nights. The women were also fitted with monitors to record their hot flashes.
The researchers then took blood samples from the study participants and examined them for the presence of a specific protein biomarker for Alzheimer’s disease called beta-amyloid 42/40.
What is the beta-amyloid 42/40 biomarker?
“This 42/40 beta-amyloid marker is considered a marker of amyloid plaques in the brain, which is one of the components of the pathophysiology of Alzheimer’s disease.” says lead author of the study, Dr. Rebecca Thurston, professor of psychiatry, epidemiology and psychology at the University of Pittsburgh.
““We found that night sweats were associated with this 42/40 beta-amyloid marker, indicating that hot flashes during sleep may be a risk factor for Alzheimer’s in women.” she adds, specifying that the exact mechanism was not yet known.
A link with hormonal functioning in women?
On average, women represent two-thirds of patients affected by Alzheimer’s disease. This is why many studies focus on the decrease in estrogen levels linked to menopause, a phenomenon which could be linked to the development of Alzheimer’s disease.
“We know that women are more affected by Alzheimer’s disease, a link with their hormonal functioning can be imagined. confirms Dr François Sarkozy, author of the book “Ageing Happy, It’s Possible” published by Leduc.
“What is certain and has been proven, however, is the impact of high blood pressure on Alzheimer’s disease, as a contributing factor.” adds the doctor. A risk factor that can be combated through appropriate medical care and regular medical monitoring.