A study of 2,500 patients suggests that women that have their ovaries removed may be at increased risk of dementia.

In Minnesota a Mayo Clinic team found the risk was raised especially among the young women- removal of one ovary by the age of 38 raised the risk by 260%. They believe the key could be loss of the female sex organ estrogen, which may help prevent ageing and also that women at risk of ovarian cancer could be risk of dementia.

Between 1950 and 1957 the researchers studied 1,209 women who had both ovaries removed, and then 1,302 who had one removed. They were compared by the time with a similar number of women who had not undergone surgery. The women that had undergone surgery were 40% more likely to develop signs of dementia or cognitive impairment.
Women who had both ovaries removed by the age of 46 were had a 70% increased risk of dementia or cognitive impairment, and those who had one ovary removed before the age of 38 had 260% increased risk.
The researchers said that women who have both ovaries removed were given estrogen replacement therapy, but he said it was possible the treatment was not continued for long enough, particularly if surgery was carried out at young age.

The team of researchers has also found that ovary removal increases the risk of Parkinson’s disease and the surgery has been linked to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis.