Effects of the pharmacologic manipulation of testosterone on cognitive functioning in women with polycystic ovary syndrome: A randomized, placebo-controlled treatment study

  • Schattmann L
  • Sherwin B
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In a previous study, we found that women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), an endocrine disorder characterized by chronic hyperandrogenism, performed more poorly than healthy, matched controls on a number of neuropsychological tests, in particular tests of verbal fluency, verbal memory, manual dexterity, and visuospatial working memory. This randomized, placebo-controlled trial was undertaken to investigate whether pharmacologic manipulation of free testosterone (free T) levels in women with PCOS might affect their performance on cognitive tests. Nineteen women with PCOS completed a battery of neuropsychological tests before and after 3 months of treatment with either an anti-androgen (cyproterone acetate) plus estrogen or with a placebo. Hormone treatment of women with PCOS caused a significant reduction in their free T levels but did not affect performance on tests visuospatial ability, verbal memory, manual dexterity, or perceptual speed. Women treated with hormone therapy did, however, demonstrate an improvement in their performance on a test of verbal fluency compared to their pre-treatment scores. These findings suggest that changes in free T levels do not have a significant impact on cognitive performance in women with PCOS, although reductions in free T may be beneficial for verbal fluency. © 2007 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Cognition
  • Polycystic ovary syndrome
  • Sex hormones
  • Testosterone
  • Verbal fluency
  • Visuospatial abilities

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  • Linda Schattmann

  • Barbara B. Sherwin

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