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Feed your brain if you have PCOS, women told

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As if they didn’t have enough to worry about, women with PCOS (polycystic ovary syndrome)—a hormonal disorder that causes irregular periods—should be looking to bolster their mental health.

Researchers have found a link between PCOS and cognitive decline, which includes memory and thinking problems that may start in middle-age.

PCOS may not cause cognitive decline, but women who have it are at higher risk, say researchers at the University of California at San Francisco.  

Sufferers should look to improve their brain health by eating a healthier diet, engaging the brain in solving puzzles, and doing cardiovascular exercises.

The researchers tracked the health of 907 women, aged between 18 and 30, for 30 years, and 66 of them had PCOS.  Their brain health was frequently checked with tests to measure memory, verbal abilities, processing speed and attention.  

The women with PCOS regularly recorded results that were on average 11 percent lower, and especially in tests on memory, attention and verbal ability.  

Brain scans revealed that the women also had lower white matter, another sign of brain ageing.

Obesity, diabetes, and heart problems are linked to PCOS, and it could be that cognitive decline should be added to the list.

References
Neurology, 2024; 102: doi: 10.1212.WNL.000000000000208104
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