In a study of the drug raloxifene (Evista), researchers at the San Francisco VA Medical Center found that, while the drug helps prevent osteoporosis in women, it also may help prevent age-related memory loss. More than 7700 women participated in the study, taking 60 or 120 mg of raloxifene or placebo for 3 years. In addition to preventing osteoporosis, the drug has been used to treat breast cancer, acting like estrogen in some tissues and like antiestrogen in others. Although scientists have been unable to determine how raloxifene affects memory, they found that those taking the 120-mg dose had a 33% lower risk of developing mild cognitive impairment, compared with those taking the 60-mg dose or placebo. They also noticed a slight reduction in the risk of Alzheimer's disease.
Ms. Farley is a freelance medical writer based in Wakefield, RI.