In the battle of the sexes, memory – or lack of it – has traditionally played a starring role.
During arguments, it is not uncommon for women to allude to past events that their hapless male partner has forgotten – to the point where in some cases he may wonder if it even happened.
However, a new study confirms that it almost certainly did – that women’s claims to having a superior memory are most definitely with foundation.
US researchers have studied middle-age men and women and found that females outperform their male counterparts of the same age on all memory measures.
The study by The North American Menopause Society is being published in the journal of The North American Menopause Society (NAMS).
Memory loss is a well-documented consequence of the aging process, with research suggesting that approximately three quarters of older adults have problems remember things.
Women report increased forgetfulness and “brain fog” as they go through the menopause and they are disproportionately at risk for memory impairment and dementia compared with men.
But despite these conditions working against them, middle-aged women still outscore their similarly aged male counterparts on all memory measures, according to the study.
“Brain fog and complaints of memory issues should be taken seriously,” says Dr. JoAnn Pinkerton, NAMS executive director.
“This study and others have shown that these complaints are associated with memory deficits,” she added.
The study of 212 men and women aged 45 to 55 years assessed episodic memory, executive function, semantic processing, and estimated verbal intelligence through cognitive testing.
Associative memory and episodic verbal memory were assessed using a Face-Name Associative Memory Exam and Selective Reminding Test.
In addition to comparing sex differences, the study also found that premenopausal and perimenopausal women outperformed postmenopausal women in a number of key memory areas.
Declines in estradiol levels in postmenopausal women were specifically associated with lower rates of initial learning and retrieval of previously recalled information, while memory storage and consolidation were maintained, the study found.