As the largest resource of information specific to women's brain health, we are sure you will find what you are looking for, and promise that you will discover new information.
Published on: May 7, 2012
by Boston Globe:
It starts with a few forgotten names, missed appointments, and words lost on the tip of your tongue. Is it lack of sleep, our crazy lives, or something more ominous?
Most people experience memory losses as they slip past their mid-30s and beyond. Memory mistakes ignored earlier in life suddenly seem worrisome, particularly for women — or at least women tend to talk about their anxiety more than men.
Researchers have long dismissed these common complaints as “just” signs of aging, and too minor to merit serious study. But scientists — many of them female — are starting to take the phenomenon of middle-age memory loss more seriously. They are focusing their research around menopause, which usually occurs when a woman is in her late 40s or early 50s.
A lot of the new research is reassuring.
Although memory does decline during the early part of menopause, it bounces back later in most women, according to findings from the Seattle Midlife Women’s Health Study, which began following 500 women in the early 1990s.
Age-related decline may also be generally slower than previously thought, according to a Swedish review of previous research published last month in the journal Trends in Cognitive Sciences. It found that roughly half of men and women avoid significant mental decline until their 60s, and in about 15 percent, the brain stays well-functioning into their 80s.
Memory loss is so mild for most people in their 40s and 50s that scientists generally have had a hard time even detecting a change. Still, many women report being alarmed by what they perceive as a decline.
“There’s something going on, but whatever it is seems to be pretty small for most women,” said Dr. Victor Henderson, a professor of neurological sciences at Stanford University.
“That’s not to minimize what women are experiencing,” he said. “As people get older, memory and cognition do change. In most instances, it’s for the worse.”
Henderson does have one piece of more encouraging news: Midlife memory loss doesn’t seem to predict Alzheimer’s disease or other types of dementia later in life.
“I don’t see evidence that it’s a major problem in terms of portending something ominous,” Henderson said.
There is, however, a clear connection between memory and the hormone estrogen, which declines during menopause, said Dr. Pauline Maki, professor of psychiatry and psychology at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
“If we take a woman’s ovaries out, her verbal memory [the memory for words and language] will decline. If we replace the estrogen, verbal memory returns to baseline,” said Maki, also a board member of the North American Menopause Society.
Regular exercise helps to bulk up our brains and improve thinking skills, numerous studies show. But physically demanding jobs, even if they are being carried out in an office, might have a...
The number of older people, including those living with dementia, is rising, as younger age mortality declines. However, the age-specific incidence of dementia has fallen in many countries, probably because of improvements in education, nutrition, health...
Among HIV-negative people, studies have found that loneliness can interfere with mental health, cognitive functioning and quality of life. In this population, one analysis has found that persistent loneliness is associated with a...
The material presented through the Think Tank feature on this website is in no way intended to replace professional medical care or attention by a qualified practitioner. WBHI strongly advises all questioners and viewers using this feature with health problems to consult a qualified physician, especially before starting any treatment. The materials provided on this website cannot and should not be used as a basis for diagnosis or choice of treatment. The materials are not exhaustive and cannot always respect all the most recent research in all areas of medicine.