(HealthDay News) — Postmenopausal women with high estradiol levels have a two-fold higher risk of developing dementia, but the risk is 14-fold higher if they also have diabetes, according to a study published online January 29 in Neurology.

Laure Carcaillon, PhD, from the Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale in Villejuif, France, and colleagues examined the association between blood estradiol levels and the development of dementia in postmenopausal women aged 65 years or older. Five hundred forty-three women did not develop dementia and 132 women developed dementia after four years of follow up.

The researchers found that the risk of dementia was significantly higher for both the lowest quartile (hazard ratio [HR], 2.4) and highest quartile (HR, 2.2) of estradiol levels after adjusting for other variables. Women with higher total estradiol levels had a significantly higher risk of dementia if they also had diabetes (HR, 14.2), compared with no diabetes (HR, 3.4). Similar results were found for bioavailable estradiol, while no association was observed for total testosterone. Adjusting for inflammatory and blood coagulation markers had no effect.

“High estradiol level is an independent predictor of incident dementia, particularly in postmenopausal women with diabetes,” Carcaillon and colleagues conclude.

Two authors disclosed financial ties to pharmaceutical companies.

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