Study looks at menopause, cognitive function in women of color, including women with HIV

The odds of impairment in learning, memory and attention/working memory were all significantly increased during the menopause transition, according to a study led by University of Illinois Cancer Center member Pauline Maki in the journal Menopause. Although measurable declines in these areas were common as women transitioned through menopause, only a small percentage of women showed clinically significant declines in these cognitive functions.  

The good news for women with HIV is that they appear to be no more vulnerable to menopause-related cognitive declines compared with other women, according to the paper, “Cognitive changes during the menopausal transition: a longitudinal study in women with and without HIV.” 

Maki, a professor of psychiatry, psychology and ob/gyn, and member of the UI Cancer Center’s Cancer Prevention and Control program, sought to discover if low-income women of color and/or women with cognitive vulnerabilities, such as those with HIV, experience higher-than-expected cognitive difficulties during menopause.