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New study examines premature menopause and effects on later life cognition
Date:5/7/2014

Premature menopause is associated with long-term negative effects on cognitive function, suggests a new study published today (7 May) in BJOG: An International Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology (BJOG).

The average age of menopause is around 50 years in the Western World. Premature menopause refers to menopause at or before 40 years of age, this could be due to a bilateral ovariectomy, (surgically induced menopause)or non-surgical loss of ovarian function (sometimes referred to as 'natural' menopause).

The study, based on a sample of 4868 women, used cognitive tests and clinical dementia diagnosis at baseline and after two, four and seven years and aimed to determine whether premature menopause can have an effect on later-life cognitive function. The effects of the type of menopause, whether natural or surgical, and use of hormone treatment were also examined.

Of the 4,868 women in this study, natural menopause was reported by 79% of the women, 10% as a surgical menopause and 11% of women reported menopause due to other causes, such as radiation or chemotherapy. Around 7.6% of the women in the study had a premature menopause and a further 12.8% an early menopause (between the ages of 41 and 45 years). Over a fifth of the women used hormone treatment during the menopause.

Results show that in comparison to women who experienced menopause after the age of 50, those with a premature menopause had a more than 40% increased risk of poor performance on tasks assessing verbal fluency and visual memory and was associated with a 35% increased risk of decline in psychomotor speed (coordination between the brain and the muscles that brings about movement) and overall cognitive function over 7 years. There was no significant association with the risk of dementia.

Furthermore, both premature ovarian failure and premature surgical menopause were associated with a more than two-fold risk of poor verbal fluency.
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Contact: Nicole Weingartner
sciencenewsroom@wiley.com
201-748-5808
Wiley
Source:Eurekalert

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