Identifying the cognitive changes associated with the menopausal transition prevents misattribution of symptoms to more ominous causes such as neurodegenerative disease.
Two women with cognitive loss and objective evidence of menopause-related cognitive impairment are presented, misattributed to Alzheimer disease in one case and frontotemporal dementia in the other. Neurocognitive testing, neuroimaging, and laboratory findings are reviewed. Both women were diagnosed with menopause-related cognitive impairment and were stable in follow-up over 4 or more years.
Recognizing the cognitive changes associated with menopause and distinguishing from cognitive impairment resulting from other etiologies—including neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer disease—has important clinical implications both for treatment and for prognosis.