In the battle of the sexes, ladiesoutperform men when it comes to remembering things, although memory declines as women enter postmenopause, a new study has found.
Memory loss is a well-documented consequence of the ageing process. Epidemiological estimates suggest that approximately 75 per cent of older adults report memory-related problems.
The study proves that middle-aged women outperform age-matched men on all memory measures. It also suggests that premenopausal and perimenopausal women outperformed postmenopausal women in a number of key memory areas.
Women report increased forgetfulness and “brain fog” during the menopause transition. In addition, women are disproportionately at risk for memory impairment and dementia compared with men.
Despite these conditions working against them, middle-aged women still outscore their similarly aged male counterparts on all memory measures, according to the study published in the journal Menopause.
The cross-sectional study of 212 men and women aged 45 to 55 years assessed episodic memory, executive function, semantic processing, and estimated verbal intelligence through cognitive testing.
In addition to comparing sex differences, the study also found that premenopausal and perimenopausal women outperformed postmenopausal women in a number of key memory areas.
Declines in estradiol levels in postmenopausal women were specifically associated with lower rates of initial learning and retrieval of previously recalled information, while memory storage and consolidation were maintained.
“Brain fog and complaints of memory issues should be taken seriously. This study and others have shown that these complaints are associated with memory deficits,” said JoAnn Pinkerton, executive director of The North American Menopause Society.
The study has been published online in Menopause, the journal of NAMS.