Link between menopause, obesity, cognitive impairment

Findings show that obese post-menopausal women outperform their counterparts of normal weight in cognitive tasks.

By AMERICAN PHYSIOLOGICAL SOCIETY
October 19, 2011 18:12
2 minute read.
Older overweight woman [illustrative photo]

Overweight obese fat large woman 311. (photo credit: Thinkstock/Imagebank)

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later Don't show it again

Newswise — Bethesda, Md. – Obesity has been associated with cognitive decline, characterized by a deterioration of mental abilities that involve memory, language, and thought-processing speed. But in a study of 300 post-menopausal women included in the Cardiovascular Prevention Program “Corazón Sano,” in Argentina, obese participants in the study performed better on three cognitive tests than participants of normal weight, leading researchers to speculate about the role of sex hormones and cognition.

According to the study’s lead author, Judith M. Zilberman, MD, of the School of Pharmacy and Biochemistry’s Department of Physiology, and the Instituto Cardiovascular de Buenos Aires, Argentina, these results may be attributable to estrogen stored and released by fat cells. Dr. Zilberman will discuss her team’s findings at the Physiology of Cardiovascular Disease: Gender Disparities conference, October 12–14 at the University of Mississippi in Jackson. The conference is sponsored by the American Physiological Society with additional support from the American Heart Association. Her presentation is entitled, “Association Between Menopause, Obesity, and Cognitive Impairment.”

Be the first to know - Join our Facebook page.


The researchers reviewed the records of 678 women who had participated in Villa María, Córdoba. Of this number, 300 (44.3 percent) were identified as having been post-menopausal for at least 1 year. Of these, 158 women (52.6 percent) were also classified as obese either because of their waist circumference or body mass index (BMI). The average of the women in the group was 59.8 years.

Each of the 300 post-menopausal women took three cognitive tests: The Mini-Mental Statement Examination, a common test for evaluating the global cognitive status, a clock-drawing test to determine the women’s executive function (planning, problem-solving, verbal reasoning, etc.); and the Boston Abbreviated Test to assess the women’s memory.

The researchers found that BMI was positively correlated with higher levels of cognition. They also found an equal correlation between obesity-related waist circumference and global cognition.

But where does estrogen fit in? “Where there is increased adipose tissue , there is increased estrogen,” said Dr. Zilberman. “My hypothesis is that estrogen may be protective of cognitive function in this case.”

According to Dr. Zilberman, the possibility that naturally occurring estrogen from a woman’s own fat cells may help preserve cognition flies in the face of current medical advice. “Based on previous studies, many research institutions have decided against recommending estrogens as a preventive intervention in cognitive impairment or dementia,” she said. “That’s what makes our findings so important.”



This article was first published on http://www.newswise.com

Related Content

Lab
August 31, 2014
Weizmann scientists bring nature back to artificially selected lab mice

By JUDY SIEGEL-ITZKOVICH