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Posted: 6/17/2009 1:18:12 PM EST

Menopause Hurts Women's Ability To Learn
Memory, Processing Speed Don't Work As Well

Women about to enter menopause may not be able to learn things as well as during other stages of life, a new study said.

Researchers from UCLA studied more than 2,300 women between the ages of 42 and 52. They were given test of memory and thinking speed.

The study found that processing speed improved with repeated testing during the early stages of menopause, but that scores during late perimenopause did not show the same degree of improvement.

That is, the further they got into menopause, the less quickly they could pick up new skills.

Dr. Gail Greendale, who was involved in the study, said in a news release that the results match what 60 percent of women already said was true –– they have memory problems while starting menopause.

"The good news is that the effect of perimenopause on learning seems to be temporary. Our study found that the amount of learning improved back to premenopausal levels during the postmenopausal stage," Greendale said.

The study also found that taking estrogen or progesterone hormones before menopause helped verbal memory and processing speed. But taking them after the final menstrual period had a negative effect.
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