60% of women say that they have memory problems during the menopause. Researchers from the University of California, Los Angeles studied 2,362 women between the ages of 42 and 52 to look into the links between the menopause and cognition. They divided the women into four groups: premenopausal, early perimenopausal (irregular periods but no gaps of three months), late perimenopausal (having no period for 3-11 months) and postmenopausal. The women were tested on verbal memory, working memory and how quickly they processed information. The study found that the women's scores improved over time but that they improved much more slowly during the late perimenopausal stage. Verbal memory was particularly affected and showed much slower improvement in both the early and late perimenopausal stages. Taking oestrogen or progesterone before the menopause had a beneficial effect but taking them after the menopause had a negative effect.
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