Alzheimer's disease: Mums of five or more at greater risk
WOMEN who have five or more children are at greater risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, a new study has found.
Research suggests that women may be 70 per cent more likely to develop the condition later in life than those who have fewer births. The study also found the risk of developing the disease is halved for women who have had an abortion or miscarriage.
The survey of 3,500 women in South Korea and Greece looked at those aged over 60 with the average age of the women tested in both countries being 71.
The women were given a memory and thinking skills test and asked them to provide information about their pregnancy history.
Of the 716 who had given birth to five or more children, 59 developed the disease - 70 per cent higher than the those with fewer children.
The study also found that of the 2,375 women who had an abortion or miscarriage, only 47 developed Alzheimer's.
Professor Ki Woong Kim, a neuropsychiatrist at Seoul National University, said: "It's possible that the modestly raised levels of oestrogen in the first trimester of pregnancy are within the optimal range for protecting thinking skills.
"Oestrogen levels double by the eighth week of pregnancy before climbing to up to 40 times the normal peak level.
"If these results are confirmed in other populations, it is possible that these findings could lead to the development of hormone-based preventive strategies for Alzheimer's disease based on the hormonal changes in the first trimester of pregnancy."