- November 13, 2016
- Posted by: emobile
- Category: Researcher's Corner
Emobileclinic Researchers Corner
According to the findings of researchers published recently by the Journal of Menopause, women have been found to hold better memories than men. Women aged 45-55 years performed better in all memory measures, despite experiencing a decline around the menopause.
Memories tend to fade as people ages. Alzheimer’s disease and dementia have been associated with loss of memory in old age. Women are more susceptible to be affected by AD and dementia than men. The scientists from Boston have been conducting research on how the menopause and levels of sex steroids might affect particular aspects of memory.
Neuroactive sex steroid hormones especially estradiol are believed to affect learning and memory in women and they may be responsible for sex differences in learning and memory performance. Estradiol affects the structure and function of brain regions that deal with memory. During menstrual cycle, the hormone levels fluctuate and there may also be changes in memory performance.
To find out more, the team decided to investigate memory function as it relates to estradiol levels in early midlife.
About 212 men and women participated in the study. The team compared performance between men and women as well as between women at different stages of menstrual cycles; before, during and after menopause.
The results revealed that women did well than men, also women who were premenopausal or perimenopausal scored better than women who were postmenopausal. The performance was linked to estradiol levels irrespective of the chronological age. As estradiol decreases during menopause, women begin to have difficult learning something for the first time and recollecting information. However, nothing does happen to the stored memories.
The team concludes that the cognitive changes that occur during menopause are likely due to hormonal processes affecting frontal executive neural networks, rather than temporolimbic dysfunction, which is implicated in AD.
The authors conclude that women’s memories are better than men’s in early midlife, and when women’s memories start to decline, this is due to reproductive status rather than age. The loss of ovarian estradiol plays a role.
The team is of the view that “in the future, we hope to understand which memory changes experienced by women in early midlife are associated with healthy aging and which memory deficits may be initial indicators of preclinical AD and eventual memory decline later in life.”
Dorene M. Rentz, et.al (2016): Sex differences in episodic memory in early midlife. Menopause. DOI:10.1097/GCE.0000000000000771