A small study by Penn Medicine and Yale researchers, published in the journal Menopause, found that a drug typically given to children and adults with ADHD improved attention and concentration in menopausal women, providing the first potential treatment for menopause-related cognition deficits.
Researchers believe the cognitive issues may be the result of a menopause-related decline in estrogen input to the prefrontal cortex, which interferes with neurotransmission, causing executive function problems.
“Subjective declines in memory, focus and organization are common in mid-life women,” said study author C. Neill Epperson, MD, director of the Center for Women’s Behavioral Wellness and associate professor in Psychiatry and Obstetrics and Gynecology at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. “We believe that the results of our small randomized clinical trial provides proof-of-concept that atomoxetine may improve subjective memory, attention and concentration.”
Before clinical recommendations can be made, a follow-up clinical trial needs to validate results. A new follow-up study is now underway at the Penn Medicine’s Women’s Behavioral Wellness program and will test whether an FDA-approved ADD medication amends these cognitive deficits in a larger group of menopausal women.
Penn Medicine is one of the world’s leading academic medical centers, dedicated to the related missions of medical education, biomedical research, and excellence in patient care. Penn Medicine consists of the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine (founded in 1765 as the nation’s first medical school) and the University of Pennsylvania Health System, which together form a $4 billion enterprise.
Penn’s School of Medicine is currently ranked #2 in U.S. News & World Report‘s survey of research-oriented medical schools and among the top 10 schools for primary care. The School is consistently among the nation’s top recipients of funding from the National Institutes of Health, with $507.6 million awarded in the 2010 fiscal year.
The University of Pennsylvania Health System’s patient care facilities include: The Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania â€“ recognized as one of the nation’s top 10 hospitals by U.S. News & World Report; Penn Presbyterian Medical Center; and Pennsylvania Hospital – the nation’s first hospital, founded in 1751. Penn Medicine also includes additional patient care facilities and services throughout the Philadelphia region.
Penn Medicine is committed to improving lives and health through a variety of community-based programs and activities. In fiscal year 2010, Penn Medicine provided $788 million to benefit our community.