TODAY   |  May 28, 2013

New study links menopause to memory loss

Jokes about menopause have long been a pop-culture staple, but memory loss during menopause is a real mid-life crisis, affecting up to 62 percent of women. NBC’s Mara Schiavocampo reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> reporter: can be a real mid life crisis .

>> my first really scary symptom was actually memory loss .

>> reporter: writer and advocate ellen doljen runs a support group called menopause mondays.

>> i was in a business meeting and i all of a sudden experienced a complete brain fog . in fact, i thought i was in the early stages of alzheimer's.

>> it's more disconcerting than the hot flashes . and -- because you -- you doubt yourself.

>> i make a joke out of it and say can i call you at midnight. but it really is disturbing. i can't remember someone's name that i know really well. i'm like, oh -- i have a brain fart -- that word on television.

>> reporter: surveys found up 62% of menopause al women reported memory problems, and more with hot flashes seemed to have memory loss . a study involved 68 women who had at least 35 hot flashes a week. the researchers gave them eight different memory quizzes. they found that women who already thought they had memory lambses did, in fact, did poorly on the test. professor pauline macke coauthored the study.

>> the majority of women say they're experiencing memory decline, and what the study says is, you're a very good judge of how good or how poor your memory is. it's important that women recognize that what they feel can be validated by scientific research , that it's not all in our head.

>> reporter: for the menopause mondays group, the new report is welcome news, but not surprising.

>> tremendously validating, and comforting.

>> it's funny to me that now there's a study, we all knew this. we could have made the study.

>> reporter: researchers on this latest study say their next step is to figure out the connection between an increased number of hot flashes and memory loss in it many menopausal women. for today, mara schiavocampo, nbc news, new york.