These common drugs used in midlife linked to cognitive decline in women

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A new study from Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard found a link between the use of antibiotics by middle-aged women and cognitive decline later in life.

The study is published in PLOS ONE and was conducted by Raaj S. Mehta et al.

Prior research has suggested that there is a connection between gut microbiome health and mental health—communication between the gut and the central nervous system has been labeled the gut-brain axis.

Some studies have shown an apparent link between problems in the gut and mental diseases, such as depression and schizophrenia.

Prior research has also shown that antibiotics use can lead to serious disruptions in the microbiome. This is not surprising, since the microbiome is made up partly of bacteria.

In this study, the researchers found a link between antibiotic use by women during middle age and a larger than normal degree of cognitive decline.

To learn more about the possible impacts of antibiotics used by middle-aged women, the researchers pulled data from the Nurses’ Health Study II, an ongoing project that involves collecting health data from female nurses over multiple years.

The team focused on middle-aged female nurses (mean 54.7 years). They analyzed data from 15,129 female nurses describing antibiotics use and the results of cognitive scores collected several years later, comparing those who took antibiotics over different duration periods with those who did not.

The researchers found that the nurses who had taken antibiotics for at least two months scored lower on the cognitive tests (taken seven years later) than the nurses who had taken antibiotics for a shorter period of time, or not at all.

The findings suggest the decline was approximately equivalent to three to four years of aging.

Recent studies have found this blood pressure drug may repair blood vessels in brain, and the best foods for brain health, which are highly relevant to the current study.

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In a recent study at Michigan Medicine and published in JAMA Network Open, researchers found that women may start middle age with stronger brain function than men, but as they get older, women’s cognition declines faster.

In the study, the team did an analysis of more than 26,000 Black and white men and women who had participated in one of five long-term cohort studies.

The researchers found that women had significantly faster declines in overall cognition and executive function, the brain processes used in problem-solving, planning, and managing your time.

However, memory decline was comparable between men and women. They estimate that cognitive function in women declined around five years faster than their ages would suggest.

They say that differences in biological, genetic, social, and lifestyle factors between men and women might contribute to faster cognitive decline in women, and more research is needed.

Researchers attribute the higher initial cognitive levels in women to greater cognitive reserve.

Women’s higher initial scores might delay detecting thinking difficulties, so it’s important for loved ones and physicians to closely monitor older women for the first signs of cognitive decline.

If you care about brain health, please read studies about common food oil in the U.S. that could change genes in the brain, and how to use a healthy lifestyle to prevent dementia.

For more information about brain health, please see recent studies about how does COVID damage the brain, and results showing these 12 things could help prevent 40% of dementia cases.

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