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The menopause brain: why it might be feeling strange and what you can do about it

The Dr Louise Newson Podcast is celebrating two huge milestones this week: not only is the podcast five years old, we’ve hit six million downloads since Dr Louise started her podcast back in March 2019!

Making a welcome return to the podcast this week is world-renowned neuroscientist Dr Lisa Mosconi, PhD. Her new book, The Menopause Brain is released on 21 March and in it Dr Lisa shares some of the fascinating changes that occur to the brain during menopause.

In this episode, Dr Lisa explains how our understanding of the importance of hormones’ role in the brain is relatively new – man was walking on the moon almost 30 years before scientists realised that the hormones that play an important part in ovarian function also have a fundamental role in the brain.

She explains that she wrote her book to empower women with the information they need to navigate the menopause – by understanding why your brain might feel foggy and the science behind it, she hopes to reassure and enlighten.

You can follow Dr Lisa Mosconi on Instagram @dr_mosconi

Click here to find out more about Newson Health


Dr Louise Newson: [00:00:11] Hello, I’m Doctor Louise Newson, I’m a GP and menopause specialist, and I’m also the founder of the Newson Health Menopause and Wellbeing Centre here in Stratford-upon-Avon. I’m also the founder of the free balance app. Each week on my podcast, join me and my special guests where we discuss all things perimenopause and menopause. We talk about the latest research, bust myths on menopause symptoms and treatments, and often share moving and always inspirational personal stories. This podcast is brought to you by the Newson Health Group, which has clinics across the UK dedicated to providing individualised perimenopause and menopause care for all women. So some of you might have heard my podcast recently with Lisa Mosconi, who’s the most amazing neuroscientist, who’s done incredible work and continues to do work to champion for women’s health and our hormones and our brains. So welcome back, Lisa. Thanks for coming back to the studio. [00:01:18][67.6]

Dr Lisa Mosconi: [00:01:19] Thank you. [00:01:19][0.4]

Dr Louise Newson: [00:01:20] So I’m very excited again to talk to you. I’m always excited because actually I love it when people can talk my language. I speak to so many people and they look at me and go, uh, what’s she going on about? Oh my goodness, how does she think hormones work in the brain? But I talk to you and it’s just like, yeah, of course it’s so obvious. So I love it. I love your intelligence and energy. And your book that came out before, The XX Brain, was phenomenal. It was really good, I read it, I recommend it to a lot of people. It unpicks a lot of very basic science. But you’ve got a new book that’s just launched, and I was very fortunate. I don’t know, am I allowed to say this, Lisa, that you actually shared with me the proof of the book. And I flew to Australia on a conference. And Rebecca Lewis, who’s also a doctor and menopause specialist, was with me reading a novel, watching stupid films. She said, what are you doing Louise? I said, I’ve got my red pen. I’m going through this book because I want to read it and I want to help Lisa. And I don’t drink alcohol, and so there were lots of, you know, offers of, would you like a wine? Would you like a drink? No. All I want to do is read this. All I want to do. And you made my journey to Australia a lot more pleasurable and enjoyable. And actually, I was talking and lecturing in Australia about mental health and hormones. So actually it gave me even more confidence to know what I was saying was right. So indirectly, you helped me with my conference, all my lecturing in Melbourne. So thank you for that. [00:02:44][84.4]

Dr Lisa Mosconi: [00:02:44] I’m glad. The whole point of the book is the hope, you know, I even have it on the cover – empowering women with knowledge and confidence. That’s the whole point. [00:02:53][8.4]

Dr Louise Newson: [00:02:53] Yeah, that is absolutely it. So your book, tell me more about it. Why is it different to your other book and tell me or tell others – I know what I can get out of it because I’ve read it, but tell others what is the book about and why is it so important that we all read it? [00:03:08][15.2]

Dr Lisa Mosconi: [00:03:09] Thank you. Thank you so much for reading it, first of all, and thank you so much for your notes and even catching typos. I was like, oh my God. This is not acceptable. I’m grateful to you and it was very, very informational as well to see your comments and how you think about some aspects that sometimes, you know, different countries have a different take on things, people have different takes on things and it’s really… They then get together and just talk and discuss and come to a common understanding and a common vocabulary and conversation. I think it’s so wonderful and so important. So like you said, I am a neuroscientist by training. I specialise in women’s brain health, and I have a PhD in neuroscience, but also in nuclear medicine, which is a branch of radiology where we use radioactive isotopes to measure a number of things that can happen in the brain, from energy levels, Alzheimer’s pathology, tau pathology, inflammation, serotonin, dopamine, all the different neurotransmitters. For a very long time, my focus was mainly on Alzheimer’s prevention, but with a very special focus on preventing Alzheimer’s specifically in women, because out of every three Alzheimer’s patients, two are women. And women also are really most of the caregivers for people with dementia and other forms of disabilities. And women just receive zero support when it comes to our health and wellness, especially mental health and wellness. So I wrote The XX Brain, which was my second book actually, which sadly came out during Covid. But that book was really, it’s a guideline for Alzheimer’s prevention in women. And when I was promoting the book and I was talking about the book, the vast majority of people just wanted to talk about menopause. It was really interesting to me that I would start talking about Alzheimer’s and prevention and lifestyle and diet, and everybody would be like, but how about menopause? And I realised, this is something that we don’t talk about enough. The impact of menopause on the brain and on brain health. So as a neuroscientist, I am aware that the research is hardly there, just very little research done specifically on menopause and brain health and just even less research on menopause and brain health and risk of chronic conditions in neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. And we are one of the, I would say, the few centres that really specialise at this point in understanding how sex differences play out differently in terms of brain health, and also Alzheimer’s risk and risk of other diseases that can impact the brain. But also we focus on menopause at this point and how menopause changes the brain’s energy levels, its structure, functionality, its biochemistry and even its connectivity. And so I thought, I know all these things that are so helpful to me as a woman also, and to my team and to our patients. Why don’t I write a book that really explains the science of the menopause brain, and then looks at solutions that are scientifically validated and proven to work? So that’s the book. The goal of the book is to empower women with the knowledge and information that they need to navigate menopause – knowing what happens to you, why are you experiencing certain changes? Why is your brain feeling funny? Why is your brain not really on today so that the fear goes out of the picture? Because you have a clear understanding that there’s biology at play. There’s a rational explanation for changes in symptoms that are definitely unsettling, can be very destabilising. However, there’s nothing alien happening to you. There’s a rational reason for it. And then what do we do to feel better and protect our brains during this transition and beyond? [00:07:35][266.2]

Dr Louise Newson: [00:07:36] So it’s very interesting. We spoke in our last podcast together about the power and the importance of hormones in our brain, and it’s very interesting. My 12 year old came home recently from her science class and said, oh mummy, they’ve told us that oestrogen is produced by the ovaries for women and testosterone is produced by men. They didn’t talk about testosterone in women, but actually they just said it’s all about our periods. And that’s what we’ve all been taught. And even as medical students, that’s all we were taught. And even now, our hormones oestrogen, progesterone and testosterone are often referred to as our sex hormones. Does that mean it’s all about sex? Does it mean about what defines you as a woman? Does it mean it’s about… and even menopause is always about periods stopping or not, or fertility, being fertile or not. But actually, what you’ve allowed people to think about as well as others is actually these hormones are produced in our brain as well as ovaries, and they have really important actions in our brain. So even if we’re not thinking about the menopause or the perimenopause, we need to think about what works. How would the neurotransmitters work in our brain and neurotransmitters, as many people realise, are just chemicals that tell the brain what to do. And I think sometimes we forget as scientists or medics how much we know and how much other people don’t know. And I think a lot of people, I was talking to my mother about this recently, don’t even realise that our hormones go in our bloodstream and they go to our brain. They literally have this visualisation that our hormones are just about a womb and our ovaries. And then when you talk about neurotransmitters, we’ve forgotten about our brain for many, many years. Of course we have. And it’s taken lots of time for people even to talk about clinical depression in a way that we know we’ve got treatments. And when the SSRIs, the serotonin reuptake inhibitors and the common type of antidepressants that are prescribed, people started talking about serotonin. Before that time, no one would have heard of serotonin at all. But now we know it’s our happy hormone. And increasingly, people are talking about our brain gut axis and how important our gut microbes are and how that can feed our brain. And what we eat can make a difference to our serotonin levels. And when we think about addictions, many people are now talking more about dopamine, our reward neurotransmitter or hormone, which is what they are, and how they interact with each other. And more and more people talk about stress, yes, and our cortisol and adrenaline, but all our hormones and neurotransmitters do not work in isolation. They all work together. Our brain is really clever and it can compensate sometimes if one level is low, another level might change. But actually, when you read about oestradiol in our brain, it can affect levels of all of these other hormones. So when oestradiol is low then we’ve got lower dopamine, we’ve got lower serotonin, lower noradrenaline. And when we know that serotonin helps us happy, no wonder menopausal women feel sad because their oestradiol levels in their brain are lowered. And the same with dopamine, people feel that they have less joy, they’ve got less sort of get up to do things, and if they do something, they don’t get the same enjoyment. If they do exercise that they might have done before it’s like I just go through the motions, I don’t enjoy it. And so it’s all these neurotransmitters, how they work together in our neural pathways. And I think once people start to realise that, you can then be a bit more reasonable and thinking more about how our hormones are biologically active in our brains, which is so important, isn’t it? [00:11:08][212.0]

Dr Lisa Mosconi: [00:11:08] Well, it’s really important, and I think that nobody talks about it. But we need to, because it is the only way to really understand how menopause and other reproductive events impact your mental health and your cognitive… So like you said, I’ve been struggling with this definition of oestrogen and testosterone, progesterone as sex hormones because the truth is then, these hormones were discovered in the 1930s by scientists that were studying reproduction. And so they found discordance and realised that they were regulating ovulation, and pregnancy and fertility were not. And so they were labelled sex hormones and we’ve been stuck with that definition ever since, which is really painful, because as a scientist, I have to reclaim these hormones for ourselves as neurohormones, right, because of this definition. And so it was in 1996, if you can believe it, that scientists, the Rockefeller University realised for the first time that the same exact hormones that were so important for ovarian function, also played a fundamental role for the brain. And they found this role in relationship to stress and to memory. This was Doctor Bruce McEwen, wonderful human being, from the Rockefeller University, and my mentor, Doctor Roberta Diaz Brinton, who I absolutely adore. She’s just incredibly smart and just so committed to women’s health and women’s brain health and supporting hormone therapy development. And so I was fairly young back then, and I had no clue that that was such a big thing and never heard about it at this point. But I think it’s ridiculous that, for context, men have walked on the moon for 30 years, you know, and people were taking hormones and they were doing clinical trials of hormone therapy. The Women’s Health Initiative started and was really put together in the 90s and then started in 1993. So before anyone even had a clue of how these hormones actually work in the brain. So the scientific… really needs a huge amount of information that would have probably led to better planning, especially for the dementia component of the study, right? [00:13:34][145.8]

Dr Louise Newson: [00:13:36] Course, absolutely. [00:13:37][0.5]

Dr Lisa Mosconi: [00:13:37] Well what we’ve learned since is that oestrogen is very important as a hormone but it’s important, even more important if we consider how it actually works. So oestrogen is like a key then needs to open and lock. And the lock is an oestrogen receptor. And these oestrogen receptors are especially abundant in the brain. So ovaries and reproductive tissues and brain tissue, they are ubiquitously distributed in brain, which means that a little bit everywhere in neurons, in astrocytes or all brain cells, even in the white matter of your brain cells. And they’re more abundant in certain parts of the brain, which means that when oestradiol enters the bloodstream, it gets inside the brain, it can bind to the receptors, turn on the receptors, and then there’s oestradiol that is made by the brain itself. That we have so little information at this point is so frustrating. But we’re starting to and all this oestradiol binds to the same receptors. We have three different types, alpha, beta and Gper. And these receptors then activate the whole cascade of molecular events. Prescription of pathways that lead to the all the wonderful effects that you mentioned. So there is increased neuro protection, right. The immune system is being activated by this binding of oestrogen with the receptor. The synthesis of serotonin is improved. The synthesis of dopamine and glutamate even, right all the major neurotransmitters that influence by this binding. And so as energy levels, we’ve done so much work with brain scans showing that when oestradiol is high in the brain, then your neurons burn glucose faster to make energy, and there’s more blood flow to the brain. That is very important for brain health. So overall, oestrogen is the master regulator of women’s brain health, which is an expression that Doctor Brinton came up with. And what she means is that oestrogen is like the orchestra conductor of women’s brains. It’s really on point and is able to orchestrate this harmony and symphony of all different neuronal functionalities almost seamlessly. So what happens with menopause when oestradiol retires, if you will, to some extent, is that the brain keeps playing, the orchestra keeps playing, but the tune is not quite the same, right? So for some women it’s the hot flashes, but for many women there’s more than just hot flashes. There’s insomnia, there’s mood changes, there’s depressive symptoms, there’s anxiety, there’s brain fog, which is what everybody comes to us for. There’s the memory lapses. And then there’s even more severe manifestations of oestrogen withdrawal that we really never talk about. I mean, some women are suicidal, some women have panic attacks, some women have extremely severe depression. And this range of symptoms is just not formalised in medicine. And the fact that we don’t formalise it and we don’t have words for it, like we have postpartum depression, right? We understand that women who are pregnant after having the baby can go through very severe depression that is hormonal. Now we have a word for it that not only validates women’s experience, but also allows us to have a conversation with our physicians and allows this development, enables development of new treatments that are specifically targeted for that medical condition. There’s no such vocabulary in menopause, and there is no recognition that this is a reality for so many women, and that there needs to be a support system in place that considers not just the ovaries, but your brain health at the same time. I like to say that menopause is a renovation project on the brain, right? It’s a neurologically active phase where your brain changes in sync with your ovaries, and many of the symptoms that ensue are neurological in nature. So we need to have physicians and clinicians and specialists who are able to address all the different aspects of menopause. And we don’t have that right now. [00:17:59][262.0]

Dr Louise Newson: [00:17:59] No. And it’s so frustrating. You’re absolutely right. And someone’s also described oestradiol as nature’s psycho protectant, so it’s protecting the brain. And we do know there’s an increased risk of, like you say, depression, anxiety, bipolar. 98% of women we see in our clinic have psychological symptoms related to their hormones. It is huge. And we see and speak to a lot of women who have very dark, very intrusive thoughts. And I’m not saying all these women, everybody who is menopausal does, but there are some women who are very sensitive to changing hormone levels, and our brains like homeostasis, some more than others. You know, my husband can operate all day. He’ll come home at ten and 11 o’clock at night. And he’ll say, is there any food, I haven’t eaten all day? I get migraine. If I don’t eat regularly three times a day, I will get a migraine triggered. My brain doesn’t like things out of kilter. [00:18:51][51.4]

Dr Lisa Mosconi: [00:18:51] Yeah. [00:18:51][0.0]

Dr Louise Newson: [00:18:52] So we’re all different. But actually that’s the same with hormones. Some people will say, oh, I’ve never had a symptom ever. And maybe their brains adapt. That’s fine. But other people, especially in the perimenopause, actually, when the hormones are fluctuating a lot, that’s where there’s often overprescribing of antidepressants because the symptoms are very similar. But what we find and what we do with some of our research is we’re funding a PhD in suicide prevention, is actually women present quite differently when you speak to them. So a lot of women I’ve spoken to who have had very deep, dark thoughts, they actually have a lot of eye contact. They have huge amount of insight. They are aware that it’s they shouldn’t be feeling like this and they don’t want to and they but they can’t see a way out often, but also when you talk to these women, they have what’s called reproductive depression. So you say to them, well, have you been pregnant? Oh yes. When I was pregnant, that was the best I ever felt. What about when the baby was born? No, no, no, I had postnatal depression. I actually wanted to kill my baby. I was so awful. It’s terrible. And then you say, well, did you ever have any PMS or PMDD? Oh, yeah. Yeah, absolutely. Just the days before my periods, I felt dreadful. But increasingly we see people who, well, their periods have stopped. They’re menopausal. I spoke to someone the other day who’s 58, so she’s menopausal. She’s never had hormones because for one reason or another she was refused them. She’s got osteoporosis now, she’s got every single symptom under the sun. But what’s very interesting is she said to me, as I mark on the calendar, the first to the third of every month, because for many years, for decades, when I have my periods, my period is always on the fourth of the month. And she said as soon as it came, it was a relief, because those few days before I was vile, I was awful, terrible. She said but I’m still getting those symptoms now. And so for days like the one, two and three of every month, I say behave yourself. And I put it on my calendar to remind me, calm your mood. Don’t be cross. Don’t be short tempered. She said and I’ve spoken to doctors about it, and they said, don’t be ridiculous. That’s all in your head because you’re not having periods. [00:21:05][133.2]

Dr Lisa Mosconi: [00:21:06] I hate that word. [00:21:06][0.7]

Dr Louise Newson: [00:21:07] But actually, like, firstly, I don’t believe anybody has anything in their heads. I feel that there must be a reason. But secondly I said to her but actually our brains produce hormones and I’m sure they produce them in a cyclical nature, it’s not just our ovaries. She was honestly, I didn’t give her hormones, she wasn’t my patient, she was someone I met at a meeting. But she was literally skipping around as she was leaving the room, knowing that she wasn’t mad. Knowing that there is a reason why she was having these cyclical symptoms. And so it’s very interesting. [00:21:36][29.3]

Dr Lisa Mosconi: [00:21:37] Yeah and to your point, the brain keeps making hormones way longer than the ovaries do. So the ovaries stop producing oestradiol during midlife in menopause. But there’s evidence that the brain keeps producing oestradiol just the amount is much lower. [00:21:54][16.5]

Dr Louise Newson: [00:21:54] Yes. And some women, it might be enough, you see. And that’s what we don’t know. There is some women who can function, they can, they’re absolutely fine. And maybe they don’t need as much oestradiol or maybe there’s other hormones or neurotransmitters that take over. But there are definitely others, and we know that because when we give them their hormones back, they go, wow, I feel motivated, I’m enjoying life, I feel very different. So everyone’s different. And certainly in your book, what you’ve also done is given us lots of information and choices because hormones are very important, but there’s no point in having hormones and eating processed food and never exercising that and not thinking of anything else. You’ve got a lot of scientific information also about, you know, various diets and how to be anti-inflammatory with our nutrition and exercise and everything else, which is really important. And I love the way that it’s based on science because it’s, you know, it’s so important because there were so many fad books that come out and you think, oh, great, but then you realise there’s no substance in them. Whereas your book The XX Brain but the new one especially has got a lot of longevity, something that is not just going to tire. I mean, you will add more and more research as time goes, but what you’ve written is the building blocks, really, isn’t it, for our brains and how important they are, especially for women? [00:23:16][81.4]

Dr Lisa Mosconi: [00:23:17] Yes and I was really trying to embrace the idea that different women want different solutions. There are women who really want the prescription. And want to attack the problem, bite it at the ankles. And there are women who prefer more natural, I mean, natural is not the right word, but prefer lifestyle adjustments and prefer to manage whatever comes with diet and exercise and feeling more empowered. So I wanted to make sure that, I think it’s so important that every woman has access to the information that she needs to make the best informed choice for herself, in collaboration with a specialist in my opinion. [00:23:59][41.6]

Dr Louise Newson: [00:23:59] Yeah, I totally agree. And you know, as a prescribing clinician, I feel that I’m the patient’s advocate. [00:24:05][6.1]

Dr Lisa Mosconi: [00:24:06] And you do yoga, I see you do the headstand. [00:24:08][2.1]

Dr Louise Newson: [00:24:08] Yes. [00:24:08][0.0]

Dr Lisa Mosconi: [00:24:10] And Pilates. I started doing Pilates as well, which is body reformer. I’m very excited about that. Yes. And then I think it’s important to counsel women using a well-rounded approach. Right. Because then you can need all the broccoli you want, but if you never move and if you spend all your time in front of a screen in your home, there’s only so much… [00:24:37][27.7]

Dr Louise Newson: [00:24:38] It’s not going to work. [00:24:38][0.5]

Dr Lisa Mosconi: [00:24:39] So a layered approach. [00:24:41][2.5]

Dr Louise Newson: [00:24:42] Course it is. And sometimes we don’t know what works. You know, yesterday I was spent four hours in the car because I had to, I was going to visit somebody with work and talk at a conference. And so in the morning I thought, I’m going to do 20 minutes of yoga. I going to, I was a bit nervous about going, so I wanted to do a headstand because a headstand’s very empowering. But the night before I went to bed, I was really tired and I thought, oh, I could just do with that extra 20 minutes. But actually I woke up just before my alarm and I thought, this is a sign, so I got out of bed, I did my yoga practice and actually you never regret doing exercise. And I’ve done yoga today because it’s Wednesday and my yoga instructor comes over to the clinic and I often say to James, I wonder what I’d be like if I wasn’t ever doing yoga. I know I’d be stiff. I know I’d be a different body shape, I know my core strength would not be good. But mentally, actually, I would be so scatty and so all over the place. But yoga for me personally keeps me very focused and it reduces my stress levels. It resets me. Other people, it might be going for a run in the park. It doesn’t really matter but I think it’s really important that we look at what we’re doing and do we find any benefit from it. So if I did yoga and I never noticed any difference, then there’s probably little point me doing it. If I ate broccoli and, I think we’ve got to find something that works and you can see benefit. You know, I know if I eat healthily, I feel better and I don’t get migraines. So there’s no point me opening a packet of crisps because I’ll be punished by having a migraine later on. But that’s fine, I know that. But I think the healthier that we are and the healthier our lifestyle is, there’s nobody I know who has a healthy lifestyle, who regrets it or feels bad from it. But I think your book has allowed people to not feel overwhelmed that they have to have the perfect lifestyle from the get go. You can just do it gradually and know why you’re doing it as well. Because otherwise, if you don’t know why you’re doing it or the benefits, it’s very easy to lapse and not bother, isn’t it? [00:26:39][116.7]

Dr Lisa Mosconi: [00:26:39] Yes. And I think also prioritising. I feel like sometimes you pick up these books and you feel like, oh God, I need to change my diet, my exercise, my sleep pattern, my stress reduction techniques. I think it’s best to just identify your priorities and then pick maybe 2 or 3 things that are proven to really help in that respect, and then be consistent. There’s a concept that I’m very fond of, which is that quick fixes just do not work for brain health. [00:27:11][32.2]

Dr Louise Newson: [00:27:12] No. [00:27:12][0.0]

Dr Lisa Mosconi: [00:27:13] The reason being that from the neck down, our bodies are engineered, they’re really by design built for change, to be adaptable and be able to change relatively quickly in response to the environment, to the diet, to your exercise, and to external stimulations. That’s because your cells have a certain turnover rate, right? So blood cells are renewed every few weeks. Your hair is shed and regrows almost every day. Even the skeleton is renewed at the rate of 10% a year. But in the brain that does not happen. The brain is built for stability. The vast majority of our brain cells are born with us and stay throughout our life, which also makes them protected against quick changes. Right. You can’t change your brain quickly because otherwise we will lose our minds just as quickly. If every time we changed our diet, our brain changed, we would be a mess. As a population. So the only way, one of the best ways to really have an impact on the brain is by being consistent and doing things at a certain frequency. So lifestyle adjustments that are gentle, that have gentle effects on brain health, whereas medications are developed to act pretty quickly and being quite strong, all these different, you know, your diet, your exercise, your stress reduction techniques, you have to do them for a certain amount of time and they have to be the right one. So the book is really about explaining how certain things really work and are proven to work, and other things are just not. You know, cucumber cleanses? No, no. Or maybe fasting to the point of eating less than 700 calories a day for menopause. Who can sustain that? So why do it? It’s better I think to focus on nutrients in foods that are known to improve brain health and also delay the onset of menopause. And we know that fruits and vegetables can do that. And complex carbohydrates in healthy fish, right? Omega three fatty acids and antioxidants and fibres and anti-inflammatory compounds have been linked with a lower risk of dementia, depression, of cognitive decline, of also to brain related symptoms, better sleep, fewer hot flashes, and a gentler menopause overall. So all the same, if you can make an adjustment for your diet, eat more veggies, eat more plants. I’m not saying go vegan. Everybody has their own diets, but do try to prioritise the amount of greens and fresh produce in your diet. It really, really helps, especially over time. [00:30:02][168.8]

Dr Louise Newson: [00:30:02] Absolutely. So really great advice. It’s called The Menopause Brain. But actually I don’t think we have to wait until we’re menopausal to read it because there’s some really good common sense. And we should all be preparing ourselves for the perimenopause and menopause so then that time in our lives is the time where we’re the best version of ourselves. But as you say, we can’t do it overnight, so don’t wait till you’re menopausal tomorrow, that is for definite. So before we finish Lisa, and I’m very grateful for your time, do you mind giving me three reasons why people not just in the UK, but globally, should not just buy your book, but read your book. [00:30:35][32.8]

Dr Lisa Mosconi: [00:30:36] I think the major reason would be to really understand the science behind the menopause brain. This is a neuroscientist take on menopause, and we also address the history of menopause and the culture of menopause, and how science really hasn’t been very gentle and very kind to women, and how this new generation of scientists many of whom are women are trying to change things and really revamp menopause as something not to be feared, something to be addressed, something to be managed, but also something to embrace and own. Because every woman, God willing, if we live long enough, we will go through menopause. So we need to know what it is and how to prepare for it, and how to also have a wonderful life after menopause. Right? Because at least a third of our lives, hopefully, will be spent in a post menopausal stage. The second reason is that there are many things that one can do to really protect their brains. We can all protect our brains during menopause and beyond and any age and walk of life. And many of these things are described in the book. So we go through everything from hormone replacement therapy and other therapies for menopause, but also lifestyle and mindset, which I think is important, especially in this society. And then the third reason is just to really understand how women’s brains work from the reproductive perspective, because there’s a system that connects the brain to the ovaries that is activated during puberty, is once again over activated during pregnancy, every time a woman gets pregnant, and then is turned off after menopause, and that each of these turning points in a woman’s life, the brain is impacted just as much as the rest of the body. Only we’re never taught this information. We never talk about it. We have some insight and understanding from our own experience and maybe talking to friends or parents. But the reality is that there’s a whole science that explains these reproductive transition states and neuroendocrine transition states that I think are really empowering to be familiar with and be comfortable discussing. [00:32:54][138.6]

Dr Louise Newson: [00:32:56] Brilliant. So knowledge is power. [00:32:57][0.7]

Dr Lisa Mosconi: [00:32:58] That is is so true. [00:33:00][2.0]

Dr Louise Newson: [00:33:00] Totally is and backed by science as much as possible too. So we’re very looking forward to welcoming you over in the UK when you can come Lisa, because we’re all desperate to meet you in real life, as nice as our Zoom relationship is. It would be very nice to entertain you in the UK. So thank you so much for your time and I really look forward to you coming back for the third time to the podcast to talk when you have produced even more wonderful papers and some more science to share with us all. So thank you again today. [00:33:28][27.9]

Dr Lisa Mosconi: [00:33:30] Thank you so much for having me. It’s really a pleasure. Thank you. [00:33:32][2.4]

Dr Louise Newson: [00:33:37] You can find out more about Newson Health Group by visiting And you can download the free balance app on the App Store or Google Play. [00:33:37][0.0]


The menopause brain: why it might be feeling strange and what you can do about it

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