Hot Flashes and Night Sweats May Be Connected to Alzheimer’s Risk

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Hot flashes, a common symptom of menopause, have already been linked to poor memory and alterations in brain structure, function, and connectivity.

Now study findings presented this week at the annual meeting of the Menopause Society indicate that hot flashes (also called vasomotor symptoms) may be early signs of an increased risk of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) — especially when symptoms occur during sleep, when they are known as night sweats.

“We found that women with more sleep hot flashes had greater markers of amyloid, which is a component of the biology of AD,” says Rebecca Thurston, PhD, the director of the Women’s Biobehavioral Health Program at the University of Pittsburgh department of psychiatry. “These biomarkers can provide critical information on an individual’s future risk of AD.”

How Did the Study Connect Hot Flashes With Alzheimer’s Risk?

For this investigation, researchers followed 248 women with menopausal symptoms, ranging in age from 45 to 67. Participants wore monitors that measured hot flash symptoms (such as skin temperature and sweat) over a 24-hour period.

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