Nulliparity and late menopause are associated with decreased cognitive decline

J Neuropsychiatry Clin Neurosci. 2003 Spring;15(2):161-7. doi: 10.1176/jnp.15.2.161.


Changes in Mini-Mental State Examination (MMSE) scores were examined over a median of 12.8 years in a population of 361 community-dwelling postmenopausal women who had never received estrogen replacement therapy. In a linear regression model that took into account age, education, race, surgical versus natural menopause, use of birth control pills, and MMSE score at baseline, it was found that nulliparous women and women who went through menopause later in life had significantly less cognitive decline. These results suggest that greater lifetime exposure to endogenous estrogen may be associated with less age-related cognitive decline.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Aging / physiology
  • Cognition Disorders / complications
  • Cognition Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Contraceptives, Oral
  • Demography
  • Educational Status
  • Estrogen Replacement Therapy
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Menopause / physiology*
  • Mental Status Schedule / statistics & numerical data*
  • Middle Aged
  • Neuropsychological Tests
  • Parity / physiology*
  • Postmenopause
  • Regression Analysis


  • Contraceptives, Oral