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Menopause Not Linked to Decline in Cognitive Functioning

Menopause Not Linked to Decline in Cognitive Functioning

Monday, September 29th 2003

Progression through a natural menopausal transition is not associated with significant memory loss, longitudinal study findings indicate.

Previous cross-sectional studies have suggested a self-reported increase in forgetfulness during menopausal transition, Dr. Peter M. Meyer and colleagues note in the September 23rd issue of Neurology. Findings regarding potential benefits of hormone replacement therapy have been inconsistent.

The researchers, all based at Rush-Presbyterian-St. Luke's Medical Center in Chicago, initiated a longitudinal study in 1996 among 803 women ages 42 to 52 participating in the SWAN (Study of Women's Health Across the Nation) trial. At yearly intervals, the subjects were tested for working memory using the Digit Span Backward (DSB) test, and for perceptual speed using the Symbol Digit Modality Test (SDMT).

During an average follow-up of 2.1 years, the authors observed small but significant improvements in both cognitive scores with aging (DSB, p < 0.0001; SDMT, p = 0.002), after adjusting for ethnicity, baseline education, income and self-reported health. Dr. Meyer's group suggests that learning effects may explain the improvement over time.

At baseline, there were 338 women deemed premenopausal based on predictable menses during the previous year. There were 438 subjects deemed early perimenopausal with less predictable menses, 17 late perimenopausal based on no menses within the prior 3 months but within the past year, and 17 postmenopausal subjects.

The only measure that declined during menopausal transition was SDMT results during the postmenopausal phase (p = 0.02). Otherwise, SDMT test results improved significantly, as did DSB for premenopausal and early perimenopausal status.

Dr. Meyer and his colleagues note that more refined measures in the SWAN protocol are forthcoming. They hope that additional analysis of risk factors and other psychosocial measures, such as depression and stress, will further elucidate variables associated with cognitive change during menopause.

Source: Neurology 2003;61:801-806.

Footnote from Ideal Health:

The following supplements are all useful for Menopause and Brain Function:

30 Plus
Estrosoy Plus
Enzogenol 120mg
Female Hormone Self Test Kit
Hi Strength Fish Oil
Hi Strength Evening Primrose Oil
Hot Flush Fix
Maca Gold
Multiple Hormone Self Test Kit
Tebonin EGb761

Related health information can be found here:

Hormonal Changes
Menustrual Problems

Related articles can be found here:

Balance your hormones the Peruvian way - the amazing Maca
Current Combined HRT Use Doubles Risk of Breast Cancer
Herbal alternative to HRT
Stroke Risk Increased in Hypertensive Women Using HRT

If you need help or advice, you are welcome to email our naturopathic team with your health question.

Disclaimer: The health information presented here has been written for the New Zealand health consumer. It is of a general nature and is only intended to provide a summary of the subjects covered. The information is not intended to be comprehensive or to provide medical advice to you. While all care has been taken to ensure the accuracy of the information, no responsibility or liability is accepted, and no person should act in reliance on any statement contained in the information provided. All health ailments should be treated by a qualified health professional.



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