A1 Journal article (refereed)
Bidirectional associations between cognitive functions and walking performance among middle-aged women (2022)

Tirkkonen, A., Kekäläinen, T., Aukee, P., Kujala, U. M., Laakkonen, E. K., Kokko, K., & Sipilä, S. (2022). Bidirectional associations between cognitive functions and walking performance among middle-aged women. Menopause: the Journal of the North American Menopause Society, 29(2), 200-209. https://doi.org/10.1097/gme.0000000000001896

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editors: Tirkkonen, Anna; Kekäläinen, Tiia; Aukee, Pauliina; Kujala, Urho M.; Laakkonen, Eija K.; Kokko, Katja; Sipilä, Sarianna

Journal or series: Menopause: the Journal of the North American Menopause Society

ISSN: 1072-3714

eISSN: 1530-0374

Publication year: 2022

Publication date: 20/12/2021

Volume: 29

Issue number: 2

Pages range: 200-209

Publisher: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins

Publication country: United States

Publication language: English

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1097/gme.0000000000001896

Publication open access: Openly available

Publication channel open access: Partially open access channel

Publication is parallel published (JYX): https://jyx.jyu.fi/handle/123456789/79171


This study investigated whether (1) cognitive functions change after the transition from the perimenopausal to the postmenopausal stage, (2) cognitive functions and walking are associated in middle-aged women, and (3) cognitive functions assessed in perimenopause are associated with walking after reaching the postmenopause or vice versa.

In total, 342 women, categorized as early (n = 158) or late perimenopausal (n = 184), were included in the study and followed up until postmenopausal. Psychomotor speed, executive functions related to set-shifting and updating, working memory, and visual memory were assessed. Walking was assessed with walking speed, walking distance, and dual-task cost in walking speed. Data was analyzed using the paired-samples t test, Wilcoxon signed rank test, multiple linear regression analysis, and structural equation modeling.

We found small but significant improvements in psychomotor speed (P = 0.01) and working memory (P < 0.001) among early perimenopausal and in psychomotor speed (P = 0.001), set-shifting (P = 0.02), visual memory (P = 0.002), and working memory (P < 0.001) among late perimenopausal women after the transition from peri- to postmenopause. Walking speed (β = 0.264, P = 0.001) and dual-task cost (β = 0.160, P = 0.03) were associated with updating, and walking distance was associated with updating and set-shifting (β = 0.198, P = 0.02, β=−0.178 P = 0.04 respectively) among the late perimenopausal women. We found no longitudinal associations between cognitive functions and walking.

Cognitive performance remained unchanged or improved after reaching postmenopause. Cognitive functions and walking were associated during the late perimenopause, but the association depended on the cognitive process and nature of the physical task. Cognitive performance was not associated with walking after reaching postmenopause or vice versa.

Keywords: women; ageing; middle-aged persons; menopause; physical fitness; walking (motion); cognitive skills; executive functions (psychology)

Free keywords: executive functions; menopause; physical functions

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Ministry reporting: Yes

Reporting Year: 2022

JUFO rating: 1

Last updated on 2023-03-10 at 14:36