CogniFit's Science blog: Studies Finally Confirm That Menopause Is Connected To Memory Loss

Studies Finally Confirm That Menopause Is Connected To Memory Loss

Menopause is something that many women fight through and must put up with as that certain age rolls around. But new research in the journal Menopause confirms that memory loss is not something women imagine, it is actually connected to the menopause cycle.

Scientists at the University of Rochester medical Center and the University of Illinois at Chicago made the discovery that has long been exclaimed by women all over the world in their 40s and 50s. Women constantly complain of being forgetful or having a brain fog around this period of life, and now we know why.

The scientists tested 75 women between the ages of 40 to 60 and gave them a multitude of cognitive tests that confirmed the problem while also providing insight into the occurrence and what is happening in the brain during menopause.

The neuropsychologist that led the study says it is important to realize that there are cognitive changes that occur during this part of a woman’s life. Although troubling, the fact of the matter is memory loss is a part of menopause. Rather than brushing it off or connecting it to some other aspect of life, women can now say that it is a result of where she is in life and feel “normal.”

The tests looked at attention span over a certain period of time as well as the ability to learn and manipulate new information. Researchers were able to find that some problems were linked to memory deficit while others were not.

In addition to attention span, the participants were also questioned about menopause symptoms like depression, anxiety, hot flashes and sleep difficulties. To help with the process, blood levels of hormones estradiol and follicle-stimulating hormone were measured.

The women that complained about foggy memory and memory loss did significantly worse on tests that were designed to gauge the “working memory.” This essentially allows someone to take in new information and manipulate it mentally. While many consider recalling items and remembering phone numbers to be memory, this is just a small memory function and most women had not struggles with this.

The study found no link between hormone levels and memory function. However, those that did have memory loss were typically more prone to other symptoms of menopause including anxiety and sleep deprivation.

For many middle-aged women, these findings come as no surprise. But for doctors and scientists, it essentially confirms something that women going through menopause have known for years and years…memory loss is connected.