New research suggests that night sweats can impact cognition in menopausal women who have had breast cancer.
Lead study author John Bark and colleagues from the University of Illinois at Chicago have recently presented their findings at , in Chicago.
Menopause is a natural milestone in a woman's life, marking the transition from childbearing years into middle age.
For many, symptoms of menopause can be striking and have severe effects on health. It has now emerged that one symptom of this change could be contributing to cognitive decline in some women.
What is brain fog?
During menopause, many women experience night sweats and hot flashes, known as vasomotor symptoms.
For most, these symptoms cause transitory physical discomfort, but a new study links them with some cognitive dysfunction, known as brain fog.
is a term that can encompass reduced cognition, difficulty with concentrating and multitasking, and challenges related to memory. These and other manifestations can be severe enough to interrupt daily life.
Previously, researchers believed that longer sleep duration was beneficial to cognitive function in women going through menopause, whether or not they experienced vasomotor symptoms.
New research, however, suggests that women who experience frequent night sweats are more vulnerable to cognitive dysfunction.
The team found that longer periods of sleep were associated with increased night sweats, which, in turn, may have an impact on cognitive function. The new research shows that this association is present in women who have received a breast cancer diagnosis in the past.
Results of the study
These results build on the outcome of previous that have demonstrated an association between daytime hot flashes and a negative effect on memory performance.
Historically, studies on vasomotor symptoms and brain fog have focused on women who had not received a breast cancer diagnosis. The present study extended the hypothesis to those with a history of the disease.