Annual Meeting of NAMS
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Whereas cognition in the late stage of the menopausal transition improves over time, women in the early and middle stages of the transition may fail to show those same improvements in verbal learning,verbal memory and fine motor speed over time, according to data presented here.
"We know that the menopausal transition is frequently associated with at
least subjective reports of cognitive decline," Miriam T. Weber, PhD, of
the University of Rochester in New York, said during a session. "Particularly,
we hear complaints about concentration difficulties, forgetfulness and poor
Weber noted that much less is known about objective performance
throughout this transition. The researchers conducted a study of 59 women aged
40 to 60 years who were categorized as being in the early, middle or late
perimenopause based on changes in menstrual flow, duration or
cycle length. They administered a comprehensive neuropsychological battery and
also collected self-reported information on depressive symptoms. Evaluation of
working memory and attention, executive function, visuospatial function, motor
function, verbal learning and verbal memory were then assessed at baseline, 6
months and 1 year.
According to the results, the entire cohort improved in all
cognitive domains from baseline to follow-up. Nevertheless,
Weber said some of this improvement may be due to "practice effects," which
occur when a participant improves during follow-up because he or she has
learned to take the test better.
When separated into groups according to perimenopausal stage, women in the late stage significantly improved in all cognitive domains. In contrast, women in the early stage failed to significantly improve in motor and verbal performance. Further, women in early menopause demonstrated significantly more improvement in verbal learning than women in the middle stage, Weber said.
"We conclude from this that cognitive function in the menopausal
transition may not be linear," Weber said. "The trajectory of this change may
differ as a result of perimenopausal group status, and the cognitive domains of
verbal learning, verbal memory and fine motor speed and dexterity may be
particularly vulnerable during menopause." - by Melissa Foster
For more information:
- Weber MT. S-18. Presented at: the 22nd Annual Meeting of the North
American Menopause Society; Sept. 21-24, 2011; Washington, D.C.
Disclosure: Dr. Weber reports no relevant financial