A number of studies have looked at the relationship between menopausal symptoms, like vasomotor symptoms, hot flashes and sleep disturbances that accompany hot flashes. The total number of hours slept predicted worse memory performance, but also the total number of hot flashes during the night when a woman was sleeping predicted memory dysfunction. If you use subjective measures of hot flashes, you miss this true relationship. The problem is that the physiology of hot flashes and the science of hot flashes is more complex than we previously understood. Today , Pauline Maki, associate professor of psychiatry and psychology, talks about her study in the journal Menopause that found women in midlife underreport the number of hot flashes that they experience by more than 40 percent and these hot flashes are linked to poor verbal memory. These, what we call ambulatory hot flash monitors, allow us to objectively measure when a woman is having a hot flash.
Allyson. Age: 27.
So, why do women become more forgetful as they transition through mid-life?
Rebekah. Age: 27.
Hot Flashes Underreported and Linked to Forgetfulness
Our understanding of hot flashes has greatly increased since the development of tools that objectively measure when and whether a woman is having a hot flash. So this underreporting of true hot flashes by mid-life women, raises the question of whether or not when you use objective hot flashes as your metric, there might be a relationship between menopausal hot flashes and memory dysfunction. So that the more true hot flashes a woman had, the worse her memory performance. The problem is that the physiology of hot flashes and the science of hot flashes is more complex than we previously understood.