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Early ovary surgery may be tied to memory loss

  • Blog Post by: Colleen Stoxen
  • January 15, 2013 - 12:00 PM

The younger a woman is when she undergoes surgical menopause, the greater her chances of developing memory problems at an earlier age, new research suggests.

Surgical menopause describes the end of ovarian function due to gynecological surgery before the age of natural menopause. It involves the removal of one or both ovaries (an oophorectomy), often in combination with a hysterectomy, the removal of a woman's uterus.

"For women with surgically induced menopause, early age at menopause was associated with a faster decline in memory," said study author Dr. Riley Bove, an instructor in neurology at Harvard Medical School and an associate neurologist at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston. However, she stressed, "These are very preliminary data."

Bove said other research suggests a link between a decrease in the hormone estrogen during menopause and mental decline, and the aim of this study was to better understand the relationship between reproductive-health factors and memory changes. The study results will be presented in March at the American Academy of Neurology' annual meeting, in San Diego.

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