According to researchers in South Korea, women who have given birth to more than five children have a much higher risk of having Alzheimer's disease compared to those with fewer children or no children.
Women who had five or more complete pregnancies demonstrated a 1.7-fold greater risk of AD than those that completed one to four completed pregnancies or no completed pregnancies.
High levels of estrogen during pregnancy and the abrupt withdrawal of estrogen after childbirth may be harmful to neurons and decrease cognitive reserve.
Based on this result, researchers are planning to develop pulse hormone replacement therapy that can induce similar hormonal changes to those in the first trimester of pregnancy to evaluate it's effectiveness in reducing the risk of Alzheimer's in women.
This reviewer does not advocate having fewer or no children as a consequence of this study.
Neurology 2018 Epub July 18