E-news: Subtle changes in cognition in young women with PCOS

A study shows reduced cognitive performance and altered white matter microstructure in young insulin-resistant women with polycystic ovary syndrome.

Metabolic disorders such as type 2 diabetes are risk factors for the development of dementia. In addition to vascular dysfunction, insulin resistance may be important since altered insulin sensitivity is associated with changes in neurogenesis.

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a disorder characterised by insulin resistance. Little is known about the impact of metabolic abnormalities on brain structure and function in younger adults.

Maneesh Udiawar et al examined whether PCOS is associated with microstructural abnormalities and to relate these to cognitive functioning.

Subjects with PCOS performed less well than controls in a measure of executive function and episodic memory. This is not attributable to BMI or premorbid intelligence.

The data suggest that alterations in brain structure, and subtle deficits in cognition, emerge at a young age in insulin-resistant subjects.