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It’s not your imagination: menopause memory struggles are real

by Margery Gass | May 30, 2013
Memory struggles at menopause are real, showed a study published in our journal Menopause. The study really struck a chord. News stories followed quickly, including two segments on The Today Show. One reason the study got so much attention is that it validated women’s experience. In the first segment on Today, co-anchor Savannah Guthrie interviewed Pauline Maki, PhD, from the University of Illinois at Chicago, who is one of the study authors and a member of the NAMS Board. The message for women, Dr. Maki said, is “You’re a very good judge of how good or how poor your memory is. It’s important that women recognize what they feel can be validated by scientific research, that it's not all in their head.” In the second segment Guthrie interviewed NAMS member Rebecca Brightman, MD, from Mount Sinai School of Medicine, who seconded that message, saying “You’re not crazy. This is real.”

Dr. Brightman also offered reassurance—this isn’t something you’ll have to live with forever. Other studies have shown that women’s former memory levels usually return after the menopause transition is over, she pointed out.

While you’re struggling with the problem, try to get enough sleep, because that can play a major role in helping you stay sharp. Use little tricks to help you perform better, such as making notes and lists. And have faith—it’s going to get better.

The study, “Objective cognitive performance is related to subjective memory complaints in midlife women with moderate to severe vasomotor symptoms,” was published online in May and will be published in the December 2013 print edition of Menopause.


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