Estrogen for Turner Syndrome

Women with Turner syndrome often have confusion about space and distance and learning disorders. Turner syndrome is a chromosomal disorder characterized by short stature, ovarian failure, and incomplete sexual development. Many women with this disorder are put on estrogen replacement therapy. A new study finds estrogen does not have an impact on the mental deficits women with Turner syndrome face.

Turner syndrome happens in about one in 3,000 women. It happens when a woman is born without one X chromosome. Researchers from Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia looked at what cognitive problems last into adulthood and whether these problems are affected by estrogen therapy.

Seventy-one women with Turner syndrome took part in the study. The women’s cognitive abilities were tested. The results were compared to 50 healthy women with a similar verbal IQ and socioeconomic status. At the time of the evaluation, 61 of the women with Turner syndrome were on estrogen therapy, and 10 were not.

Researchers report adults with Turner syndrome have normal verbal IQ but have difficulty on measures of space, recognition, visual-motor skills and attention. The study finds these deficits are apparent both in women on estrogen as well as in women not on the hormone. Researchers conclude that estrogen therapy does not have a major impact on the cognitive problems of women with Turner syndrome.

They say Turner syndrome is a very complex disorder and future studies focusing on the biological causes are needed.

SOURCE: Neurology, 2002

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