Published online by Cambridge University Press: 18 June 2020
Previous studies have reported that the menopause is associated with deterioration in memory and mood in some women. Also, a significant body of research suggests that hormone ‘replacement’ therapy (HRT) – now referred to as menopausal hormone therapy (MHT) – specifically with estrogen, may act as a prophylaxis against the risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease (AD) and a treatment for perimenopausal depression. The precise nature, and biological basis, of this relationship is still not fully understood. However, it probably involves a complex interaction between genes, the environment and the mode and timing of MHT prescription. Increasing our understanding of the interplay between these factors during the menopause may permit us to target more specific treatments to vulnerable individuals. Furthermore, it offers a window of opportunity to understand the putative role of estrogen in psychiatric disorders at other times of the reproductive cycle. The current chapter will focus on the role of estrogen on Alzheimer’s disease and depression during the menopause.