Thyrotropin levels associated with Alzheimer's disease risk in women

Jul 28, 2008

Women with low or high levels of the hormone thyrotropin, which affects thyroid gland function and thyroid hormone levels, appear to have a higher risk of developing Alzheimer's disease, according to a report in the July 28 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine.

A clinically detectable over- or under-active thyroid has long been recognized as a potentially reversible cause of cognitive (thinking, learning and memory) impairment, according to background information in the article. Previous studies have examined whether levels of thyrotropin, a hormone that is secreted by the pituitary gland and helps regulate thyroid gland function, is associated with cognitive performance in individuals with normal thyroid function. However, results have been inconsistent.

Zaldy S. Tan, M.D., M.P.H., of Hebrew SeniorLife, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Harvard Medical School, Boston, and colleagues measured thyrotropin levels in 1,864 individuals (average age 71) without cognitive problems between 1977 and 1979. Participants—part of the community-based Framingham Study—were assessed for dementia at that time and again every two years.

Over an average of 12.7 years of follow-up, 209 participants developed Alzheimer's disease. After adjusting for other related factors, the researchers found that women with the lowest (less than 1 milli-international unit per liter) and highest (more than 2.1 milli-international units per liter) levels of thyrotropin had more than double the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease. However, no relationship was observed between thyrotropin levels and Alzheimer's disease risk in men.

"Whether altered thyrotropin levels occur before or after the onset of Alzheimer's disease, the neuropathologic mechanism is unclear," the authors write. Changes in the brain caused by Alzheimer's disease may cause a reduction in the amount of thyrotropin released or changes in the body's responsiveness to the hormone. Alternatively, low or high thyrotropin levels could damage neurons or blood vessels, leading to cognitive difficulties.

Source: JAMA and Archives Journals

Explore further: Three-people IVF debate process on the move in UK

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Kingston, Jamaica hybrid project to harness sun and wind

5 hours ago

A hybrid energy project in Kingston, Jamaica, aims to satisfy the need for money-saving renewable energy. U.S.-based WindStream Technologies recently announced the wind solar hybrid installation commissioned ...

Archaeologists excavate NY Colonial battleground

5 hours ago

Archaeologists are excavating an 18th-century battleground in upstate New York that was the site of a desperate stand by Colonial American troops, the flashpoint of an infamous massacre and the location of the era's largest ...

Google eyes Chrome on Windows laptop battery drain

13 hours ago

Google Chrome on Microsoft Windows has been said to have a problem for some time but this week comes news that Google will give it the attention others think the problem quite deserves. Namely, Google is to ...

Security contest techies say they hacked Tesla Model S

15 hours ago

The good news: Tomorrow's cars are computers on wheels. The bad news: Tomorrow's cars are computers on wheels. Ma Jie, writing in Bloomberg News, reported this week that the Tesla Model S sedan was the target ...

Water problems lead to riots, deaths in South Africa

16 hours ago

Three babies who died from drinking tap water contaminated by sewage have become a tragic symbol of South Africa's struggle to cope with a flood of people into cities designed under apartheid to cater to ...

Recommended for you

Strategy proposed for preventing diseases of aging

1 hour ago

Medicine focuses almost entirely on fighting chronic diseases in a piecemeal fashion as symptoms develop. Instead, more efforts should be directed to promoting interventions that have the potential to prevent ...

Intestinal parasites are 'old friends,' researchers argue

4 hours ago

Intestinal parasites such as tapeworms, hookworms and a protist called Blastocystis can be beneficial to human health, according to a new paper that argues we should rethink our views of organisms that live off the human ...

User comments : 0