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  • 1 April 2020 to 31 March 2021
  • Project No: 480
  • Funding round: FR19

Background: Dementia is a devastating condition with serious consequences for affected individuals, families, carers and wider society.  It is commonest in older people, affecting 1 in 14 over the age of 65.  In the UK, there are currently about 850,000 people living with dementia, and the number is expected to increase to over 1 million by 2025.

Some factors, such as smoking, alcohol and obesity, are known to increase risk of developing dementia, but there is a lack of information about factors which could delay or prevent its development.  If taken at around the time of the menopause, there is some evidence that hormone replacement therapy (HRT) can reduce the risk of dementia in women, but studies investigating this have so far been conflicting and inconclusive.

Aim: To clarify whether HRT can reduce the risk of developing dementia or delay onset.


  • The proposed study will use the two largest UK databases of anonymised GP treatment records to select all women over 55 with a diagnosis of dementia.
  • For comparison, a second group of women with no diagnosis of dementia will be identified from the same GP surgeries.
  • For both groups, information on previous prescriptions for HRT will then be used to compare the proportion of women with dementia previously prescribed HRT with the proportion in the comparison group of women with no dementia diagnosis.
  • Other potential factors will be taken into account and details of use of different hormonal treatments will also be investigated.

Impact: If HRT is found to reduce the risk of developing dementia, this will be a significant step forward for women considering using hormonal therapies for menopausal symptoms.  Concern about the prospect of dementia is growing, so a beneficial effect from hormonal treatments on development of dementia would be an important decision factor.


Carol Coupland, Julia Hippisley-Cox, Lauren Taylor (Nottingham)


Amount awarded: £11 982.00

Projects by themes

We have grouped projects under the five SPCR themes in this document

Evidence synthesis working group

The collaboration will be conducting 18 high impact systematic reviews, under four workstreams.