Hot Flashes & Memory
Earlier research has shown that women going through menopause often complain of memory problems, such as forgetting certain words or the details of past events, particularly when they’re having hot flashes. A new study that used fMRIs (functional magnetic resonance imaging) to observe brain activity showed that hot flashes do indeed influence women’s brain function as they attempt to retrieve words or memories. Participants were 14 women, whose average age was 53. None were taking hormone replacement therapy. This was the first study to demonstrate that brain functions associated with memory appear to be affected by hot flashes. More study will be needed to determine whether hot flashes actually cause the brain changes seen and whether treating hot flashes will help prevent or normalize them, said Stephanie Faubion, M.D., medical director of the North American Menopause Society.
Pauline M. Maki et al, “Hot flashes are associated with altered brain function during a memory task,” Menopause, January 6, 2020, doi: 10.1097/GME.0000000000001467
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