For women, greater exposure to estrogen in life may protect brain regions that are vulnerable to Alzheimer’s

The drop in estrogen levels that occurs with menopause brings declines in the volumes of ‘gray matter,’ the cellular matter of the brain, in key brain regions that are also affected in Alzheimer’s disease. But a new study suggests that greater cumulative exposure to estrogen in life, for example from having had more children or from having taken menopause hormone therapy, may counter this brain-shrinking effect.