"The groundwork of all happiness is health." - Leigh Hunt

Researchers find link between PCOS and cognitive decline in midlife

February 1, 2024 – A standard condition called polycystic ovary syndrome that causes irregular menstrual cycles has been linked to signs of early cognitive decline.

Known as PCOS, the condition can affect multiple in ten women and is one of the common causes of infertility. In addition to problems with ovulation, PCOS may cause excessive hair growth on the face and other parts of the body, in addition to abnormal growth on the ovaries. Women with PCOS are at a very increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes in addition to other serious health problems equivalent to heart disease, hypertension, cholesterol problems and sleep apnea, especially if the ladies are chubby.

This latest study examined possible links between PCOS and brain health in women of their late 40s and older.

“Our results suggest that people with this disorder have reduced memory and thinking skills as well as subtle brain changes in midlife,” lead creator Dr. Heather G. Huddleston of the University of California, San Francisco and director of the PCOS clinic at UCSF Health, said in a opinion. “This could impact a person on many levels, including quality of life, career success and financial security.”

Specifically, women with a mean age of 55 who also reported PCOS symptoms performed worse on cognitive tests commonly used to evaluate brain health, equivalent to the flexibility to recollect 15 unrelated words. The researchers also found that ladies with PCOS symptoms showed changes within the white matter of their brains using magnetic resonance imaging, and the changes could possibly be an indication of early brain aging.

The results were published on this month's issue of the magazine neurology. The research study didn't show that PCOS causes cognitive decline, but found consistent links between the 2 conditions. The 907 women within the study were between 18 and 30 years old in the beginning of the study and were followed for 3 a long time.

At the top of the 30-year study period, the ladies accomplished tests assessing memory, verbal skills, attention and processing speed, or the time it takes to finish a mental task. Researchers compared leads to women without PCOS to the 66 women within the study who likely had PCOS based on their reported symptoms or because they'd a typical PCOS condition with high levels of androgens, a variety of hormone.

Women with PCOS symptoms performed about 11% worse on the eye test. They had to have a look at a listing of words in several colours after which say the colour of the ink as an alternative of reading the actual word. The women with PCOS symptoms also performed worse on memory and language skills tests.

The researchers cautioned that a limitation of the study was that the ladies within the PCOS group didn't necessarily have a medical diagnosis of PCOS.

“Additional research is needed to confirm these findings and determine how this change occurs, including examining changes people can make to reduce the likelihood of thinking and memory problems,” Huddleston said. “Changes such as increasing cardiovascular exercise and improving mental health may also help improve brain aging in this population.”