Women become less clever after the menopause

Click to follow
Indy Lifestyle Online

The menopause reduces a woman's intelligence and ability to juggle work, friends and family, at the same time as turning her into a chatterbox, researchers said yesterday.

The menopause reduces a woman's intelligence and ability to juggle work, friends and family, at the same time as turning her into a chatterbox, researchers said yesterday.

A preliminary study of women aged 40 to 60 found that women who had been through the menopause performed badly on problem-solving tests, had a poorer short-term memory and were slightly slower than their fertile peers. On the other hand they became more eloquent and scored more highly on verbal tests than pre-menopausal women.

The relationship between the start of the menopause and intellectual ability is thought to be due to a complex genetic link between the brain and theenvironment as a woman's ovaries are being formed. The average age for a woman to go through the menopause is 47 and, for one in five, the hot flushes, headaches and poor sleeping last for five years.

Researchers from Brandeis University, Massachusetts, tested 56 women who had not yet reached the menopause, were going through it or were post-menopausal. The women took a series of intelligence tests and were compared with a group of 71 men.

The intellectual differences between fertile and post-menopausal women were found to hold after allowing for education and age. Women who were going through the menopause had the same intellectual ability as younger women who had not yet reached it. In contrast there was no difference in intellectual ability between men aged 41 to 50 and 51 to 60.

Dr Margie Lachman, coauthor of the study, said: "We found that post-menopausal women were not as good at solving complex problems and tasks, which will affect their ability to do several things at once."

Most women can now expect to live nearly half of their lives after the menopause. The authors said that the results should be treated with caution because of the small scale ofthe study and suggested that larger-scale research should be carried out to confirm their findings.

Comments