A comparative study of the effect of stress on the cognitive parameters in women with increased body mass index before and after menopause

M. B. Ramesh, S. Ammu, A. K. Nayanatara, N. A. Vinodini, K. C. Pratik, N. Anupama, K. Bhagyalakshmi

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The increasing prevalence of overweight and obesity is a critical public health problem for women. The negative effect of stress on memory and cognitive functions has been widely explored for decades in numerous research projects using a wide range of methodology. Deterioration of memory and other brain functions is a hallmark of Alzheimer's disease. Estrogen fluctuations and withdrawal have myriad direct effects on the central nervous system that have the potential to influence cognitive functions. The present study aims to compare the effect of stress on the cognitive functions in overweight/obese women before and after menopause. A total of 142 female subjects constituting women before menopause between the ages of 18 and 44 years and women after menopause between the ages of 45 and 60 years were included in the sample. Participants were categorized into overweight/obese groups based on the body mass index. The major tool perceived stress scale was used for measuring the perception of stress. On the basis of the stress scale measurement, each group was classified into with stress and without stress. Addenbrooke's Cognitive Examination-III was used for measuring the cognitive functions. Premenopausal women with stress showed a significant (p<0.05) decrease in the cognitive parameters such as attention and orientation, fluency, language and visuospatial ability. Memory did not show any significant changes in this group. Whereas, in the postmenopausal stressed women, all the cognitive functions except fluency showed a significant (p<0.05) decrease. Stress is a significant factor on the cognitive functions of obese and overweight women before and after menopause. Practice of yoga and encouragement in activities like gardening, embroidery, games and relaxation techniques should be recommended to prevent stress. Insights into the neurobiology before and after menopause can be gained from future studies examining the effect on the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal axis in relation to cognition and stress.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)469-471
Number of pages3
JournalJournal of Basic and Clinical Physiology and Pharmacology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 25-09-2018


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physiology
  • Pharmacology
  • Drug Discovery

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