San Francisco, Feb 4 (IANS) Women suffering from polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) may be more likely to have memory and thinking problems in middle age, according to a new study.
PCOS is a hormonal disorder that is defined by irregular menstruation and high levels of a hormone called androgen. Other symptoms can include excess hair growth, acne, infertility and poor metabolic health, said the study, published in the journal Neurology.
“Polycystic ovary syndrome is a common reproductive disorder that affects up to 10% of women,” said study author Heather G. Huddleston, MD, of the University of California, USA.
“Although it has been linked to metabolic diseases such as obesity and diabetes that can lead to heart problems, less is known about how this disease affects brain health. Our results suggest that people with this disease have a memory and lower thinking skills and subtle brain changes in middle age,” he added.
The author also mentioned that this could affect a person on many levels, including quality of life, career success, and financial security.
The study was conducted with 907 female participants, aged between 18 and 30, over a period of 30 years.
In a test of attention, participants were shown a list of words in various colors and asked to identify the color of the ink instead of reading the word itself. For example, the word “blue” could be displayed in red, so the appropriate response would be red.
For this test, the researchers found that people with PCOS had an average score about 11 percent lower than people without PCOS.
After adjusting for age, race and education, the researchers found that people with PCOS scored lower on three of the five tests administered, specifically in the areas of memory, attention and skills verbal, compared to those who did not have the disease.
“Making changes like incorporating more cardiovascular exercise and improving mental health can also serve to improve brain aging in this population,” Huddleston said.