Now it is official that women have superior memory than men. In a study presented in the journal Menopause, women aged 45-55 years competed better in all memory measures, regardless of experiencing some decrease around the menopause.
About 75 % of individuals experience memory issues as they get old. Reasons include dementia and Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Women are more probable to be impacted by AD and dementia than men.
As women reach menopause, they also battle with forgetfulness and “brain fog,” and for some, this memory reduction carries on after menopause. Some investigators have identified that women have problems with verbal fluency at these times, too.
Nevertheless, women with healthy aging brains carry on having an advantage over their male competitors when it comes to memory function, even in middle age and older age.
Indeed, some studies suggest that, even from early years, women perform better than men in memory tasks. This is particularly true of verbal memory. The variation becomes more considerable just after puberty, and it continues into adulthood.
Study has recommended that verbal and associative factors of memory are more probably to be affected than nonverbal function as individuals get older.
It also appears that individuals who experience issues with verbal memory prior to the age of 50 years are more probably to experience further cognitive problems after the age of 65 years.
How do hormones impact memory?
Investigators from Boston, MA, have been examining how the menopause and levels of sex steroids may impact specific aspects of memory.
Neuroactive sex steroid hormones, which includes estradiol, are considered to affect learning and memory in women, and they may underlie sex variations in learning and memory performance.
Estradiol impacts the structure and function of brain areas that associate to memory. As levels go up and down during the menstrual cycle, verbal working memory efficiency can change, too.
To figure out more, the study team determined to examine memory function as it associates to estradiol levels in early midlife.
They hypothesized that sex variations, hormones, and reproductive status may correlate with modifications in memory efficiency.
The investigators also desired to know which memory domains are most probably to be affected in menopausal women and whether the level of memory function in early midlife might estimate the future onset of AD, depending on family history.
Despite a dip at menopause, women perform better than men in memory tests
The individuals were 212 men and women aged between 45-55 years.
Complicated memory tests were applied to evaluate episodic memory, executive function, and semantic processing. Cognitive testing was used to evaluate verbal intelligence.
The research team compared performance among men and women, and also between women at various stages, prior, during, and after menopause.
Outcomes revealed that women performed better than men, and that women who were premenopausal or perimenopausal obtained superior than women who were postmenopausal. Performance was connected to estradiol levels, irrespective of chronological age.
As estradiol decreases during menopause, women find it tougher to learn something for the initial time and to retrieve information. However, they keep on to maintain and consolidate stored memories efficiently. The results recommend that various parts of the brain are impacted.
Past studies have revealed that women with a longer reproductive period, and for that reason higher exposure to estrogens, have better instant and delayed verbal memory in mid- to late-life.
A fall in estradiol levels while in menopause has also been identified to relate directly to changes in brain activity in the hippocampus, which performs a role in memory function.