Free Access
Neurodegenerative Dis 2008;5:257–260

The Long-Term Effects of Oophorectomy on Cognitive and Motor Aging Are Age Dependent

Rocca W.A.a, c · Grossardt B.R.b · Maraganore D.M.c
Divisions of aEpidemiology and bBiostatistics, Department of Health Sciences Research, and cDepartment of Neurology, Mayo Clinic College of Medicine, Rochester, Minn., USA
email Corresponding Author

 goto top of outline Key Words

  • Oophorectomy
  • Estrogen
  • Neuroprotection
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Parkinsonism
  • Dementia
  • Cognitive impairment
  • Menopause

 goto top of outline Abstract

Background: The evidence for a neuroprotective effect of estrogen in women remains controversial. Objective: We studied the long-term risk of parkinsonism and of cognitive impairment or dementia in women who underwent oophorectomy before menopause. Methods: We conducted a historical cohort study among all women residing in Olmsted County, Minn., USA, who underwent unilateral or bilateral oophorectomy before the onset of menopause for a noncancer indication from 1950 through 1987. Each member of the oophorectomy cohort was matched by age to a referent woman from the same population who had not undergone oophorectomy. In total, we studied 1,252 women with unilateral oophorectomy, 1,075 women with bilateral oophorectomy, and 2,368 referent women. Women were followed for a median of 25–30 years. Parkinsonism was assessed using screening and examination, through a medical records- linkage system, and through death certificates. Cognitive status was assessed using a structured questionnaire via a direct or proxy telephone interview. Results: The risk of parkinsonism and of cognitive impairment or dementia increased following oophorectomy. In particular, we observed significant linear trends of increasing risk for either outcome with younger age at oophorectomy. Conclusion: Our findings, combined with previous laboratory and epidemiologic findings, suggest that estrogen may have an age-dependent neuroprotective effect.

Copyright © 2008 S. Karger AG, Basel

 goto top of outline References
  1. Rocca WA, Grossardt BR, de Andrade M, Malkasian GD, Melton LJ 3rd: Survival patterns after oophorectomy in premenopausal women: a population-based cohort study. Lancet Oncol 2006;7:821–828.
  2. Rocca WA, Bower JH, Maraganore DM, Ahlskog JE, Grossardt BR, de Andrade M, Melton LJ 3rd: Increased risk of parkinsonism in women who underwent oophorectomy before menopause. Neurology 2007, E-pub ahead of print.
  3. Rocca WA, Bower JH, Maraganore DM, Ahlskog JE, Grossardt BR, de Andrade M, Melton LJ 3rd: Increased risk of cognitive impairment or dementia in women who underwent oophorectomy before menopause. Neurology 2007;69:1074–1083.
  4. Melton LJ 3rd, Bergstralh EJ, Malkasian GD, O’Fallon WM: Bilateral oophorectomy trends in Olmsted County, Minnesota, 1950–1987. Epidemiology 1991;2:149–152.
  5. Melton LJ 3rd: History of the Rochester Epidemiology Project. Mayo Clin Proc 1996;71:266–274.
  6. Therneau TM, Grambsch PM: Modeling Survival Data: Extending the Cox Model. New York, Springer, 2000.
  7. Gibbs RG: Long-term treatment with estrogen and progesterone enhances acquisition of a spatial memory task by ovariectomized aged rats. Neurobiol Aging 2000;21:107–116.
  8. Morrison JH, Brinton RD, Schmidt PJ, Gore AC: Estrogen, menopause, and the aging brain: how basic neuroscience can inform hormone therapy in women. J Neurosci 2006;26:10332–10348.
  9. Zandi PP, Carlson MC, Plassman BL, Welsh-Bohmer KA, Mayer LS, Steffens DC, Breitner JC: Hormone replacement therapy and incidence of Alzheimer disease in older women: the Cache County Study. JAMA 2002;288:2123–2129.
  10. Henderson VW, Benke KS, Green RC, Cupples LA, Farrer LA: Postmenopausal hormone therapy and Alzheimer’s disease risk: interaction with age. J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry 2005;76:103–105.
  11. Siegfried T: Neuroscience: it’s all in the timing. Nature 2007;445:359–361.

 goto top of outline Author Contacts

Walter A. Rocca, MD, MPH
Division of Epidemiology, Department of Health Sciences Research
Mayo Clinic, 200 First Street SW
Rochester, MN 55905 (USA)
Tel. +1 507 284 3568, Fax +1 507 284 1516, E-Mail

 goto top of outline Article Information

Published online: March 6, 2008
Number of Print Pages : 4
Number of Figures : 3, Number of Tables : 0, Number of References : 11

 goto top of outline Publication Details

Neurodegenerative Diseases

Vol. 5, No. 3-4, Year 2008 (Cover Date: March 2008)

Journal Editor: Nitsch R.M. (Zürich), Hock C. (Zürich)
ISSN: 1660–2854 (Print), eISSN: 1660–2862 (Online)

For additional information:

Copyright / Drug Dosage / Disclaimer

Copyright: All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be translated into other languages, reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, microcopying, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher or, in the case of photocopying, direct payment of a specified fee to the Copyright Clearance Center.
Drug Dosage: The authors and the publisher have exerted every effort to ensure that drug selection and dosage set forth in this text are in accord with current recommendations and practice at the time of publication. However, in view of ongoing research, changes in goverment regulations, and the constant flow of information relating to drug therapy and drug reactions, the reader is urged to check the package insert for each drug for any changes in indications and dosage and for added warnings and precautions. This is particularly important when the recommended agent is a new and/or infrequently employed drug.
Disclaimer: The statements, opinions and data contained in this publication are solely those of the individual authors and contributors and not of the publishers and the editor(s). The appearance of advertisements or/and product references in the publication is not a warranty, endorsement, or approval of the products or services advertised or of their effectiveness, quality or safety. The publisher and the editor(s) disclaim responsibility for any injury to persons or property resulting from any ideas, methods, instructions or products referred to in the content or advertisements.