Women with PCOS more likely to have memory, thinking issues in middle age: Study

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San Francisco, Feb 4 (IANS) Women suffering from polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) may be more likely to have memory and thinking problems in middle age, a new study has said.

PCOS is a hormonal disorder that is defined by irregular menstruation and elevated levels of a hormone called androgen. Other symptoms may include excess hair growth, acne, infertility and poor metabolic health, the study, published in the journal Neurology, said.

“Polycystic ovary syndrome is a common reproductive disorder that impacts up to 10 per cent of women,” said study author Heather G. Huddleston, MD, of the University of California, US.

“While it has been linked to metabolic diseases like obesity and diabetes that can lead to heart problems, less is known about how this condition affects brain health. Our results suggest that people with this condition have lower memory and thinking skills and subtle brain changes in midlife,” she added.

The author also mentioned that this could impact a person on many levels, including quality of life, career success and financial security.

The study was conducted on around 907 female participants, aged between 18 to 30, for a period of 30 years.

In an attention test, participants were shown a list of words in various colours and asked to identify the colour of the ink rather than reading the word itself. For example, the word “blue” could be displayed in red, so the appropriate response would be red.

For this test, researchers discovered that people with PCOS had an average score that was approximately 11 per cent lower than people without the condition.

After adjusting for age, race, and education, researchers discovered that people with PCOS scored lower on three of the five tests administered, specifically in areas of memory, attention, and verbal abilities, compared to those without the condition.

“Making changes like incorporating more cardiovascular exercise and improving mental health may serve to also improve brain ageing for this population,” Huddleston said.



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