Sex differences and the influence of sex hormones on cognition through adulthood and the aging process

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Hormones of the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal (HPG) axis that regulate reproductive function have multiple effects on the development, maintenance and function of the brain. Sex differences in cognitive functioning have been reported in both health and disease, which may be partly attributed to sex hormones. The aim of the current paper was to provide a theoretical review of how sex hormones influence cognitive functioning across the lifespan as well as provide an overview of the literature on sex differences and the role of sex hormones in cognitive decline, specifically in relation to Alzheimer’s disease (AD). A summary of current hormone and sex-based interventions for enhancing cognitive functioning and/or reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s disease is also provided.

Original languageEnglish
Article number163
Number of pages14
JournalBrain Sciences
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2018


  • Aging
  • Cognition
  • Sex differences
  • Sex hormones

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