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Cognitive Performance During Menopause Transition Examined

Longitudinal declines seen in measures of learning, memory, attention/working memory domains in low-income women of color

WEDNESDAY, Jan. 13, 2021 (HealthDay News) — Measures of cognitive performance show decline from premenopause to later menopause stages among low-income women of color, according to a study published online Jan. 11 in Menopause.

Pauline M. Maki, Ph.D., from the University of Illinois at Chicago, and colleagues examined longitudinal changes in cognitive performance across menopause stages in a sample of 443 low-income women of color (69 percent African American and 18 percent Hispanic), including women with HIV (WWH). Tests of verbal learning and memory, attention/working memory, processing speed, verbal fluency, motor skills, and executive function were completed at an index premenopausal visit and every two years thereafter for up to six visits (mean follow-up, 5.7 years).

The researchers found that the overall sample and WWH showed longitudinal declines in continuous measures of learning, memory, and attention/working memory domains from premenopause to early perimenopause and from premenopause to postmenopause after adjustment for age and relevant covariates. In categorical scores of cognitive impairment, effects on those same domains were evident, with increased odds of impairment varying from 41 to 215 percent. The increase ranged from 4 to 13 percent in predicted probability of impairment by menopausal stage.

“It will be important in future studies to identify which factors account for individual differences in cognitive declines associated with the menopause,” the authors write.

Two authors disclosed ties to the biopharmaceutical industry.

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