An evaluation of memory and attention in BRCA mutation carriers using an online cognitive assessment tool Journal Articles uri icon

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  • BackgroundThe objective of this study was to evaluate the impact of various surgical, hormonal, and lifestyle factors on memory and attention in women with a BRCA1 or BRCA2 mutation.MethodsBRCA mutation carriers enrolled in a longitudinal study were invited to complete an online brain health assessment tool designed to screen for cognitive deficits. Four measures of memory and executive attention were assessed individually, and an overall score was compiled adjusting for age. Exposures, including preventive surgery, hormone use, and lifestyle factors, were captured by questionnaire. Performance on each of the 5 subtasks was analyzed according to various exposures. Analysis of covariance was used to compare overall scores.ResultsIn total, 880 women completed the online cognitive assessment. The average age of the participants was 54 years (range, 23‐86 years). The mean overall test score was 54.4 (range, 0‐93). The individual subtask scores declined with age at test completion (P < .0001) and increased with level of education (P ≤ .01). Women who underwent a preventive oophorectomy had a significantly higher overall score compared with women who did not undergo this surgery (55.5 vs 50.5; P = .01). Reconstructive breast surgery was also associated with a higher overall score (56.5 vs 52.3; P = .005). Chemotherapy and hormone‐replacement therapy were not predictive of the overall score.ConclusionsThese findings are reassuring to high‐risk women who undergo early surgical menopause for their cancer predisposition. Further studies are needed to evaluate cognitive function over time when memory deficits become more prevalent.


  • Kotsopoulos, Joanne
  • Kim, Shana J
  • Armel, Susan
  • Bordeleau, Louise
  • Foulkes, William D
  • McKinnon, Wendy
  • Panchal, Seema
  • Cohen, Stephanie A
  • Sun, Sophie
  • Sun, Ping
  • McKetton, Larissa
  • Troyer, Angela K
  • Narod, Steven A

publication date

  • September 2021

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