press release
Published: 14 February 2023

Impact of HRT on brain chemistry to be investigated to help post-menopausal women

Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) and its impact on brain chemistry in post-menopausal women is being investigated in a new study by researchers from the University of Surrey. Post-menopausal women are being sought to help with the research.

The study will give researchers insights into whether HRT can promote healthy brain function and structure as women continue to age.

Daniella Jones, a postgraduate researcher in Neuroscience in the School of Psychology at the University of Surrey, said:

“The menopause and its symptoms can wreak havoc on women’s physical, emotional, mental, and social wellbeing. HRT is a key treatment for relieving physical symptoms of menopause, making women feel more like themselves.

“However, most menopause symptoms are neurological in nature, and we need to better understand the impact this treatment can have on the brain, post-menopause.”

HRT replaces hormones that are reduced due to the menopause and helps to relieve symptoms, such as hot flushes and mood swings. However, the effects of HRT on brain health in women post-menopause remains uncertain.

To aid the study, researchers are seeking to recruit female participants, aged between 50-65 years old, who are post-menopausal and have received or not received HRT for the past three months.

Participants will undergo an MRI scan to examine brain chemistry and be provided with an at-home blood test to measure oestradiol levels.

Dr Ines Violante, Senior Lecturer in Psychological Neuroscience at the University of Surrey, said:

“Menopause undoubtedly affects a woman’s brain chemistry, with the decline of oestrogen linked to cognitive impairment and memory loss. However, what we don’t know is what the brain chemistry of women looks like post-menopause, how it has been affected using HRT and if this treatment has improved cognitive wellbeing. The valuable insight we get from this study will help us learn more about the potential benefits of HRT.”

If you would like to participate in this study, please email Daniella Jones Recruitment for this study finishes at the end of February 2023.