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Memory in female adolescents with congenital adrenal hyperplasia due to 21-hydroxylase deficiency.

Endocrine 2024 May 11
INTRODUCTION: In females with congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH), the influence of hyperandrogenism and glucocorticoid supplementation on neurocognition is controversial.

OBJECTIVES: To identify possible differences in visual working memory and verbal memory in adolescent girls with CAH due to 21-hydroxylase deficiency and matched controls. Moreover, to study if any relationship between variables associated with CAH and the scores of the selected memory tests was present.

MATERIAL AND METHODS: In total 39 individuals were studied, female adolescents with CAH and age and pubertal stage matched healthy male and female controls (13 in each group). Sociodemographic, clinical, hormonal, and neurocognitive variables were explored. In female adolescents with CAH, variables related to the disease (age at diagnosis, clinical form, time since diagnosis, and glucocorticoid doses) were correlated with the scores obtained for neurocognitive variables.

RESULTS: The mean age was 13.9 ± 3.3 years. In female adolescents with CAH the results were worse compared to controls in Free Recall (p = 0.039) and in Visual Memory Span score (p = 0.016). Age at diagnosis was negatively correlated to number of hits (p = 0.04), number recalled backward (p = 0.03), Visual Memory Span test score (p = 0.04) and Total Free Recall (p = 0.04), i.e., memory was worse with later diagnosis.

CONCLUSIONS: Female adolescents with CAH had worse visual working memory compared to matched controls, but not in verbal memory. Age at diagnosis was negatively associated with the memory tests.

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