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Kyoko Konishi, PhD












Kyoko Konishi*, Sarah Aroner, Anne Remington, Harlyn Aizley, & Jill M Goldstein

Longitudinal Impact of Midlife Metabolic Health on Memory Function: Role of Sex and Reproductive Aging

I am an Instructor in the Department of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital. My research integrates multi-modal imaging methods with early biomarkers and novel molecular strategies to understand metabolic mediators of sex differences in memory circuitry function and Alzheimer’s disease. Attending the Women in Medicine and Science Symposium will be a valuable experience and rich learning environment to present my work. It will be an opportunity to network with other women in the MGB community and celebrate each other’s achievements. These interactions will help promote cross-disciplinary research and potential future collaborations.

Background: Menopause is associated with altered memory circuitry function and decreased glucose metabolism, resulting in a period of vulnerability in women. Here, we assessed the impact of metabolic health, in relation to sex and reproductive aging, on memory performance and cellular aging in midlife.

Methods: 103 participants (48M:55F) underwent metabolic and memory assessments at ages 40-50 and follow-up memory assessments at ages 45-55. Generalized estimating equations were used for analyses.

Results: At ages 40-50, there was no significant relationship between metabolic health and memory (p>0.05). However, women with prediabetic/diabetic levels of HbA1c at ages 40-50 performed significantly worse on memory tasks 5-years later compared to those with lower HbA1c levels (β=-6.32, p<0.01) and differed significantly from men (p<0.01). Further, women with higher HbA1c levels who transitioned to postmenopause during the follow-up period had the worst memory performance 5-years later (β=-1.22, p<0.01) compared with those who remained in pre/perimenopause (p=0.05). Finally, poor metabolic health was also related to accelerated cellular aging in the form of shorter telomere length (β=-0.41, p<0.05).

Conclusions: Results suggest that midlife metabolic health is related to cellular aging and has a greater longitudinal impact on memory performance in women compared to men as women transition through menopause.