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BJOG. 2014 Dec;121(13):1729-39. doi: 10.1111/1471-0528.12828. Epub 2014 May 7.

Impact of a premature menopause on cognitive function in later life.

Author information

1
Inserm, U1061, Neuropsychiatry: Epidemiological and Clinical Research, Montpellier, France; Université Montpellier 1, Montpellier, France; Cancer & Disease Epigenetics, Murdoch Children's Research Institute, Melbourne, Vic., Australia; Department of Paediatrics, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Vic., Australia.

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

To determine whether premature menopause (≤40 years) can have long-lasting effects on later-life cognition and investigate whether this association varies depending on the type of menopause and use of hormone treatment (HT).

DESIGN:

Population-based cohort study.

SETTING:

The French Three-City Study.

POPULATION:

Four thousand eight hundred and sixty-eight women aged at least 65 years.

METHODS:

Multivariable-adjusted logistic regression models were used to determine the association between age at menopause, type of menopause (surgical, natural), and the use of menopausal HT and later-life cognitive function.

MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES:

Performance on a cognitive test battery (at baseline and over 7 years) and clinical dementia diagnosis.

RESULTS:

Menopause at or before the age of 40 years, both premature bilateral ovariectomy and premature ovarian failure (non-surgical loss of ovarian function), was associated with worse verbal fluency (OR 1.56, 95%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. HT at the time of premature menopause appeared beneficial for later-life visual memory but increased the risk of poor verbal fluency. Type of menopause was not significantly associated with cognitive function. Premature menopause was associated with a 30% increased risk of decline in psychomotor speed and global cognitive function over 7 years.

CONCLUSION:

Both premature surgical menopause and premature ovarian failure were associated with long-term negative effects on cognitive function, which are not entirely offset by menopausal HT. In terms of surgical menopause, these results suggest that the potential long-term effects on cognitive function should form part of the risk/benefit ratio when considering ovariectomy in younger women.

KEYWORDS:

Cognition; dementia; hormone treatment; ovariectomy; premature menopause

PMID:
24802975
DOI:
10.1111/1471-0528.12828
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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