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Smoking, estrogen metabolites & cognitive function

Institution: University of California, San Diego
Investigator(s): Donna Kritz-Silverstein, Ph.D.
Award Cycle: 2000 (Cycle 9) Grant #: 9RT-0034 Award: $193,049
Subject Area: Epidemiology
Award Type: Research Project Awards
Abstracts

Initial Award Abstract
Previous studies reported that cigarette smoking is associated with lower levels of endogenous estrogen in the blood and an earlier age at menopause. Smoking has also been associated with poorer cognitive function. However, the literature has not reported on the association between smoking, estrogen and cognitive function, and the information that is available on estrogen and cognitive function is inconsistent. This may be because smoking alters the breakdown of estrogen in the body causing more of it to be converted to an inactive form. If estrogen is protective against memory loss and impaired cognitive function, smoking would have an effect of decreasing cognitive function via the estrogen metabolism pathway.

This will be the first study to measure estrogen metabolites in a large sample of women aged 65 and older. It will determine if smoking is related to cognitive function at baseline and to change in cognitive function over time through alterations in estrogen metabolism. We will also look at the effects of smoking and estrogen metabolism in women who develop Alzheimer’s disease.

Results of this study will help elucidate the mechanism by which smoking exerts an effect on a common disease and will provide further evidence that Alzheimer’s disease and cognitive decline is a tobacco-related disease.
Publications

Cognitive function after 11.5 years of alcohol use: relation to alcohol use.
Periodical: American Journal of Epidemiology Index Medicus:
Authors: Kritz-Silverstein D, Barrett-Connor E ART
Yr: 2003 Vol: 158 Nbr: Abs: Pg: 394-395