Study Validates Perimenopausal Memory Complaints

Memory complaints linked to working memory and complex attention/vigilance performance

MONDAY, March 19 (HealthDay News) -- For perimenopausal women, memory complaints are associated with working memory and complex attention performance, according to a study published online March 12 in Menopause.

To investigate the correlation between subjective memory complaints and objective cognitive performance, Miriam T. Weber, Ph.D., from the University of Rochester in New York, and colleagues used a comprehensive neuropsychological battery completed by 75 perimenopausal women. In addition, participants completed self-report inventories of their perceived memory and menopausal symptoms.

The researchers found that memory complaints did not correlate with verbal learning or memory but did correlate with working memory and complex attention/vigilance. There was a correlation between memory complaints and symptoms of depression, anxiety, somatic complaints, and sleep disturbance. Depressive symptoms, somatic complaints, and working memory performance best predicted memory complaints.

"Memory complaints in the menopausal transition may reflect true difficulties with attentionally mediated cognitive processes, in particular complex attention and working memory," the authors write. "Memory complaints during the transition are also strongly associated with depression, somatic complaints, and sleep disturbance, but these psychological stressors are not the sole contributor to perceived memory function."

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