ad info




Asiaweek
 home
 intelligence
 web features
 magazine archive
 technology
 newsmap
 customer service
 subscribe
 TIMEASIA.COM
 CNN.COM
  east asia
  southeast asia
  south asia
  central asia
  australasia
 BUSINESS
 SPORTS
 SHOWBIZ
 ASIA WEATHER
 ASIA TRAVEL


Web-only Exclusives
November 30, 2000

From Our Correspondent: Hirohito and the War
A conversation with biographer Herbert Bix

From Our Correspondent: A Rough Road Ahead
Bad news for the Philippines - and some others

From Our Correspondent: Making Enemies
Indonesia needs friends. So why is it picking fights?

AsiaweekTimeAsia NowAsiaweek

MARCH 17, 2000 VOL. 26 NO. 10

An End to Confusion
Estrogen's role in treating Alzheimer's disease
By SUVENDRINI KAKUCHI Kyoto

The memory can fail at the most awkward moments. A favorite nephew's name just slips the mind, as does the outstanding bill from that mahjong session a couple of months ago. Call it absentmindedness. But then the bouts of forgetfulness get more frequent. Later, walking to the neighborhood supermarket, planning dinner and even using the telephone become difficult as confusion sets in. Eventually, basic activities such as bathing and eating present hurdles.

 
  ALSO IN ASIAWEEK
Cover: Stock Options
Still relatively rare in Asia, companies are likely to start giving employees equity as an incentive to work better and stick with the job. Thank the Internet
• Glossary: A quick guide to cashless collars and other terms
• Japanese Dream: It isn't hip to be a salaryman

Asiaweek Salaries Survey 2000
Jobs in the region and how much they pay

Taiwan: The race for president is too close to call. Whoever wins, the island and its relations with Beijing will never be the same
• Interview: Chen Shui-bian does not want war with China
• Black Gold: Of gangsters, vote-buying and political corruption
• Geopolitics: The influence of Taiwan's brand of democracy
Thailand: What the Senate election means for political reform
Malaysia: Behind a debate on special privileges for Malays
East Timor: Why Falantil members are now rebels without a cause
Viewpoint: Vajpayee masks the fundamentalist threat

Technology
The Net: A geek summit in Taiwan
Computing: Hong Kong's hidden software industry
Cutting Edge: Simulating real life

Business
Cash: With $1 billion, San Miguel goes shopping
Marketing: Notebooks as status symbols in Asia
Interview: Krung Thai Bank head says changes are coming
Investing: Mining resource stocks for profit

People: A*Mei drops pop for the classics
Entertainment: The hot spot for survival docu-dramas
Health: Protecting against Alzheimer's disease
Newsmakers: Zhu Rongji lays down the line
Looking Back: Mourning South Korea's President Park

Alzheimer's disease is estimated to afflict 20 million people worldwide (2%-5% of people over 65 and a fifth of those over 85). And while the cause remains unknown, twice as many elderly women as men suffer from the degenerative brain disorder in Japan, says Dr. Honjo Hideo, a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Kyoto University. He suggests that the higher risk of Alzheimer's is due to lower estrogen levels in older women. Most women reach menopause between the mid-40s and late-50s, when the body stops producing sex hormones such as estrogen.

Promisingly, Honjo and his colleagues have found that hormone replacement therapy (HRT) can delay or alleviate the symptoms of senile dementia. Though the researchers do not fully understand how the mechanism works, they suspect some of the protective effect may be due to estrogen's ability to suppress the production of a substance known as apolipoprotein E - apo-E for short.

Scientists have linked Alzheimer's to a build-up of the protein, sometimes called senile plaque, in the brain. This is believed to damage neural function by interfering with the action of chemical messengers, or neurotransmitters, which convey instructions between various parts of the brain.

The Kyoto study monitored apo-E levels in 200 women, including 84 who were suffering from senile dementia. Not only did the subjects receiving HRT (estrogen) have significantly reduced apo-E levels, Alzheimer's sufferers among them showed signs of improvement: They began to take greater interest in their surroundings and personal appearance. Indeed, one woman who had been unable to recognize her husband began to recover some of her memory after several weeks of treatment, Honjo says.

While warning that the studies are still at an early stage, Honjo is a firm believer in HRT for older women. Estrogen loss is associated with other health problems, he notes, including osteoporosis and heart disease. He concedes that studies have shown a strong link between long-term estrogen therapy and breast cancer. However, he argues that risks have been balanced by including the hormone progestin in treatment.

Asian women generally suffer less severe discomfort in menopause than women in the West. Some scientists attribute this to their diet, which features more vegetables and soya products. Soya bean, especially, is high in phytoestrogens - plant compounds with an action similar to the human hormone. Evidence suggests that high intake of phytoestrogens also protects against brittle bones and breast cancer while alleviating distress.

This edition's table of contents | Asiaweek home

AsiaNow


Quick Scroll: More stories and related stories
Asiaweek Newsmap: Get the week's leading news stories, by region, from Newsmap


   LATEST HEADLINES:

WASHINGTON
U.S. secretary of state says China should be 'tolerant'

MANILA
Philippine government denies Estrada's claim to presidency

ALLAHABAD
Faith, madness, magic mix at sacred Hindu festival

COLOMBO
Land mine explosion kills 11 Sri Lankan soldiers

TOKYO
Japan claims StarLink found in U.S. corn sample

BANGKOK
Thai party announces first coalition partner



TIME:

COVER: President Joseph Estrada gives in to the chanting crowds on the streets of Manila and agrees to make room for his Vice President

THAILAND: Twin teenage warriors turn themselves in to Bangkok officials

CHINA: Despite official vilification, hip Chinese dig Lamaist culture

PHOTO ESSAY: Estrada Calls Snap Election

WEB-ONLY INTERVIEW: Jimmy Lai on feeling lucky -- and why he's committed to the island state



ASIAWEEK:

COVER: The DoCoMo generation - Japan's leading mobile phone company goes global

Bandwidth Boom: Racing to wire - how underseas cable systems may yet fall short

TAIWAN: Party intrigues add to Chen Shui-bian's woes

JAPAN: Japan's ruling party crushes a rebel at a cost

SINGAPORE: Singaporeans need to have more babies. But success breeds selfishness


Launch CNN's Desktop Ticker and get the latest news, delivered right on your desktop!

Today on CNN
 Search

Back to the top   © 2000 Asiaweek. All Rights Reserved.
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines.