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Premature Menopause Tied to Risk of Depression Later in Life

Research suggests longer estrogen exposure might have protective effect

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 6, 2016 (HealthDay News) — Premature menopause may increase a woman’s later risk of depression, according to research published online Jan. 6 in JAMA Psychiatry.

Marios K. Georgakis, M.D., of the National and Kapodistrian University of Athens in Greece, and colleagues reviewed the results of 14 studies that included 67,714 older women.

Those whose menopause began when they were 40 and older had a lower risk of depression later in life than those with premature menopause. The findings suggest “a potentially protective effect of increasing duration of exposure to endogenous estrogens as assessed by age at menopause, as well as by the duration of the reproductive period,” the authors write.

“These findings could have a significant clinical effect by allowing for the identification of a group of women at higher risk for depression who may benefit from psychiatric monitoring or estrogen-based therapies,” the researchers conclude.

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