Women Have Better Memories Than Men

Women Have Better Memories Than MenWomen Have Better Memories Than Men

It is official. Women have better memories than men. In a study published in the journal Menopause, women aged 45-55 years performed better in all memory measures, despite experiencing a decline around menopause.

About 75% of people experience memory problems as they get older. Causes include dementia and Alzheimer’s disease (AD). Women are more likely to be affected by AD and dementia than men.

As women reach menopause, they also struggle with forgetfulness and “brain fog.” Some researchers have found that women have difficulty with verbal fluency at these times, too.

Nevertheless, women with healthy aging brains continue to have an edge over their male counterparts when it comes to memory function, even in midlife and older age.

Indeed, some studies suggest that, even from childhood, women outperform men in memory tasks. This is especially true of verbal memory.

Research has suggested that verbal and associative aspects of memory are more likely to be impaired than nonverbal function as people get older.

It also seems that people who experience problems with verbal memory before the age of 50 years are more likely to face additional cognitive impairments after the age of 65 years.

Researchers from Boston, MA, have been investigating how menopause and levels of sex steroids might affect particular aspects of memory, reported.

Neuroactive sex steroid hormones, including estradiol, are believed to affect learning and memory in women, and they may underlie sex differences in learning and memory performance. Estradiol affects the structure and function of brain regions that relate to memory.

To find out more, the team decided to investigate memory function as it relates to estradiol levels in early midlife.

The participants were 212 men and women aged between 45-55 years.

Challenging memory tests were used to assess episodic memory, executive function, and semantic processing. Cognitive testing was used to measure verbal intelligence.

The team compared performance between men and women, and also between women at different stages, before, during, and after menopause.

Results showed that women outperformed men, and performance was linked to estradiol levels, regardless of chronological age.

“Brain fog” and forgetfulness have sometimes been attributed to job stress and the need to multitask, rather than menopausal transition. The current study confirms other findings suggesting that menopause, and more specifically, estradiol, may play a role.  Prof. JoAnn Pinkerton, executive director of the North American Menopause Society (NAMS) and professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Virginia Health Center in Charlottesville, said, “Women, particularly those starting hormone therapy before age 60 or within 10 years of menopause, may be most likely to benefit from the therapy, including any potential benefits on memory or cognition.”

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