Memory Loss during Menopause

Scientific American

Click here to listen to this podcast

Women have plenty to deal with during menopause. There are mood fluctuations and hot flashes. And now a study adds documented memory loss.


In previous studies, women reported that they had memory lapses during menopause. The new study wanted to see if there was an objectively arrived-at connection.


Researchers tested 68 women between ages 44 and 62 years on their attention and recall. All the women had reported having at least 35 hot flashes per week. One test involved looking at a line drawing for 10 seconds and then trying to reproduce the figure immediately afterward. The complexity of the drawing increased over 10 trials. In another test researchers read out a string of numbers and the subjects had to repeat the numbers back.


Women who’d reported trouble remembering indeed performed poorly on tests involving memory. And those who had more, and more extreme, hot flashes did worse on the tests than those who had fewer and less intense hot flashes. The study is published in the journal Menopause.


The study shows that memory issues are indeed associated with menopause. Although in the midst of a hot flash, that assurance might be cold comfort.


—Christie Nicholson


[The above text is a transcript of this podcast.]

Follow Scientific American on Twitter @SciAm and @SciamBlogs.
Visit for the latest in science, health and technology news.

© 2013 All rights reserved.