The drug, raloxifene, modulates the activity of the hormone estrogen. The finding was published in the April 2005 issue of the American Journal of Psychiatry.
Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) affects more than one-third of women and one-fifth of men aged 65 and older. It reduces short-term memory and is associated with a significantly increased risk of Alzheimer's disease.
"No other intervention has been proven to reduce the risk of mild cognitive impairment," says Kristine Yaffe, MD, the principal investigator of the trial. Yaffe is UCSF associate professor of psychiatry, neurology and epidemiology and chief of geriatric psychiatry at SFVAMC.
Raloxifene is one of the most broadly prescribed drugs for the treatment of osteoporosis (it is also used to treat breast cancer). It is manufactured by Eli Lilly, which sponsored the trial, called the Multiple Outcomes of Raloxifene Evaluation (MORE).
In the MORE trial, which took place at 180 clinical sites in 25 countries, 7,705 postmenopausal women with osteoporosis were randomly assigned to take a daily dose of either 120 milligrams of raloxifene, 60 milligrams of raloxifene, or a placebo for three years. Participants at 161 sites -- 7,023 women -- were measured for cognitive impairment at the beginning of the study and every year thereafter; cognitively impaired women were kept in the study.
Over the course of the trial, 1,637 women dropped out. At the end of the study, the remaining 5,386 were evaluated for dementia. In those women, the 120 milligram dose conferred a 33 percent lower risk of developing mild cognitive impairment when compared with the 60 milligram dose and with placebo. The 60 milligram dose offered no apparent prevention of cognitive i
Contact: Steve Tokar
University of California - San Francisco