Surgical, Gradual Menopause Effects on Cognition Compared

Research on rats suggests that transitional menopause before ovariectomy may have benefits

TUESDAY, Sept. 1 (HealthDay News) -- Natural menopause and surgical menopause might have different effects on cognitive function, according to the results of animal research published in the September issue of Endocrinology.

Jazmin I. Acosta, Ph.D., of Arizona State University in Tempe, and colleagues analyzed data from middle-aged female rats that underwent ovariectomy surgery; gradual ovarian follicular depletion with 4-vinylcyclohexene-diepoxide (leading to results resembling those in non-surgically menopausal women); gradual ovarian follicular depletion with 4-vinylcyclohexene-diepoxide treatment followed by ovariectomy; or sham surgery. Rats were then given a battery of cognitive tests.

The researchers' results indicate that transitional menopause before ovariectomy may be associated with better memory than abrupt loss of hormones with the surgery. In addition, removal of ovaries after transitional ovarian hormone loss may be linked to better cognition compared to retaining the ovaries.

"These findings could have implications in women, pending clinical research evaluating whether a transitional menopause before oophorectomy improves cognitive outcome, compared with oophorectomy without a prior transition. Studies evaluating menopause status relative to timing of oophorectomy, in the context of circulating levels of luteinizing hormone and androstenedione, may reveal valuable information toward optimization of factors that could influence women's health. That these findings might translate to brain health in women provides exciting new avenues for research and intervention," the authors write.

A co-author reported a financial relationship with Senestech Inc.

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