The findings, presented at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology (AAN) raises questions about whether hormone therapy might help, according to Riley Bove, MD with Harvard Medical School in a press release.
For the study, researchers looked at memory skill tests among 1, 837 women who were part of the Rush Memory and Aging Project at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago. Women were ages 53 to 100.
The results showed early surgical menopause was linked to memory decline. The earlier surgery was performed, the faster women lost their long-term memory and overall thinking abilities.
The findings were the same even after taking into account age, smoking history and education level. Natural menopause failed to show the same results.
The study authors say more research is needed. Women who underwent surgery that leads to menopause at an early age were also found to have brain plaques related to Alzheimer's disease.
January 14, 2013