The Surprising Good News on How Menopause Changes Your Brain
Menopause changes women’s brains—but many of the changes are temporary, and the brain eventually compensates for some of them, according to new research.
In one of the first studies to take an in-depth look at brain changes in healthy women before and after menopause, researchers from Weill Cornell and the University of Arizona found that the menopause transition changes the brain’s structure, energy consumption and connectivity. The volume of the brain’s gray matter—which consists of nerve cells—decreases, as does its white matter, which contains the fibers that connect nerve cells. Brain regions associated with memory and perception also showed declining glucose levels, the study found.
But the findings contained some good news: Women’s brains at least partly compensate for these declines with increased blood flow and production of a molecule called ATP, the main energy source for cells.
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