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Mariava Phillips
April 1, 2024

amanda_seyerleAccording to the Alzheimer’s Association, of the more than 6 million Americans over age 65 with Alzheimer’s disease, almost 4 million are women. Amanda Seyerle, Ph.D., assistant professor in the Division of Pharmaceutical Outcomes and Policy, is hoping to help change that thanks to a three-year grant from the Alzheimer’s Association. Seyerle plans to use the nearly $200,000 grant to determine the metabolomic and genetic markers a woman needs to utilize hormone replacement therapy (HRT) effectively for the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease. 

Medicines that include female hormones, like estrogen, may decrease the risk for Alzheimer’s disease but may increase risk for illnesses like heart disease or cancer. However, not everyone who takes these medicines has negative side effects and not everyone who takes these medicines is protected against Alzheimer’s disease. 

“The goal is to try and identify who HRT actually helps. It’s not clear how universal the risks are for people and there are significant benefits to using hormone therapy as well—birth control, managing post-menopause symptoms, preventing osteoporosis and even Alzheimer’s,” she said. 

Seyerle will run a secondary data analysis of more than 350,000 women to identify the differences that put some women at greater risk of developing negative effects while providing other women with safer protections from cognitive decline. Specifically, she will be looking at how a person’s genes and the products of their metabolism impact their response to hormonal treatments. 

This work will lead to a greater understanding of the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease and cognitive decline and will highlight potential pathways that are important to the advancement of precision medicine in the prevention of Alzheimer’s disease in women. 

“If HRT has great benefits and doesn’t hurt everyone, then wouldn’t it be nice to use it effectively with the groups of women who could have life-changing results,” she said. 


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