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    Premature menopause associated with risk of lower cognitive function



    Early menopause—whether natural or surgical—may be associated with negative effects on cognitive function that are not entirely offset by postmenopausal hormone therapy (HT), according to a new study in BJOG.

    French researchers at Hospital La Colombiere assessed 4868 women aged aged 65 and older. A multivariable-adjusted logistic regression model was used to determine the association between age at menopause, the type of menopause (surgical or natural), and the use of HT and later-life cognitive function. Main outcome measures were a clinical dementia diagnosis and performance on a cognitive test battery, which was performed at baseline and over 7 years.

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    Menopause at or before age 40, whether from premature bilateral ovariectomy or premature ovarian failure, was associated with worse verbal fluency (odds ratio [OR] 1.56, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.12–1.87, P = 0.004) and visual memory (OR 1.39, 95% CI 1.09–1.77, p = 0.007) in later life. Although at onset of premature menopause, HT appeared to be beneficial for later-life visual memory, it appeared to increase the risk of poor verbal fluency. The type of menopause had no significant association with cognitive function. Women who experienced premature menopause had a 30% higher risk of decline in psychomotor speed and global cognitive function over 7 years.

    Given the association between premature menopause and cognitive decline irrespective of HT, the researchers concluded that potential effects on cognitive function should be included in the risk/benefit ratio for ovariectomies in younger patients.



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    Miranda Hester
    Ms. Hester is Content Specialist with Contemporary OB/GYN and Contemporary Pediatrics.


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