Menopause linked to increased blood vessel damage in the brain


By Quang Tran | Wednesday 29 June 2022

Today (Wednesday 29 June) researchers published findings in the scientific journal Neurology, suggesting women who have experienced menopause may have more small brain lesions compared to premenopausal women or men of the same age.

These are small lesions called White Matter Hyperintensities that are visible on brain scans and become more common with age or with uncontrolled high blood pressure.

They have also been linked to an increased risk of stroke, Alzheimer’s disease and a decline in memory and thinking.

Dr Rosa Sancho, Head of Research at Alzheimer’s Research UK, said:
“Dementia disproportionality affects women and, in the UK, women make up two thirds of those living with the condition.

“While women can expect to live longer than men, this alone does not explain the difference in the numbers of people developing dementia, and scientists have been delving deeper into the biological variations that could underlie this effect.

“In this study, researchers identified sex specific differences and looked at the impact of the menopause on intensity of lesions in the brain.

“While the researchers found that women had more signs of damage to the brain following the menopause, they didn’t look at whether they went on to develop memory and thinking problems or dementia.

“Future research needs to further unpick the impact of biological differences like menopause on memory and thinking loss over a period of many years.”


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Quang Tran