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Memory Takes a Hit During Menopause
Date:5/25/2009

Study finds women do not learn as well for a time, but bounce back,,,,

MONDAY, May 25 (HealthDay News) -- Science is now backing up what women have long claimed: Memory and learning take a hit during menopause.

Research published in the May 26 issue of Neurology finds that women do not learn as well during early and late perimenopause, when periods are irregular but have not disappeared altogether.

But the changes were subtle, manifesting as less improvement rather than actual decline, the authors stated. Most importantly, the deficits, if they can be called that, were temporary: A woman's learning capacity bounces back once postmenopause has begun.

"The good news is that when women are finished with the menopause transition and in steady postmenopause, cognitive performance, memory, learning, all that comes back to premenopause levels," said Dr. Arun S. Karlamangla, an associate professor of medicine at UCLA's David Geffen School of Medicine and the study's senior author.

"This adds to several other studies that suggest that there are parts of the menopause transition where there are effects on memory and cognitive abilities," said Dr. Victor Henderson, a professor of health research and policy and of neurology and neurological sciences at Stanford University School of Medicine, and past president of the North American Menopause Society.

"For women starting the menopause transition or just finishing it, there are no big changes in memory," Henderson said. "There may be some problems in the middle of the transition, but before and after, women are about the same."

Almost two-thirds of women say they have memory problems during this time in their lives, according to the researchers.

Given that estrogen has been shown to have beneficial effects on brain function, researchers have hypothesized that the decline in estrogen level that occurs after menopause or the fluctu
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