Canada Research Chair in Hormones, Brain and Cognition
Tier 1 - 2007-07-01
Determining the influence of sex hormones on the mental functioning of aging men and women.
Investigating whether, and which, hormone treatments slow the decline in mental functions as we age.
Sharp Minds and Golden Years
More Canadians are living long enough to fall victim to the disabilities that come with being old. And more of us are enduring those disabilities for much longer. Cognitive declines, those involving the mind, are a part of normal aging, especially those involving verbal memory and working memory. Even so, these declines may jeopardize the quality of life for the elderly.
For post-menopausal women, estrogen plays a role preserving memory. However, for these women, the production of sex hormones declines drastically. As Canada Research Chair in Hormones, Brain and Cognition, Dr. Barbara Sherwin is determining which populations of women could benefit from hormone therapy. She will look into such factors as when hormone treatment starts, how long it lasts and what the dose is.
Sex hormone levels also decrease, although more slowly, in aging men. We don’t know much about how this is related to decreases in cognition. Controlled studies of older men with low levels of sex hormones may tell us whether there is a link between the two.
As Sherwin works out how sex hormones shore up cognition, she will mark the trail to treatments that can protect the quality of life for people during their golden years.