Stellate ganglion blockade and verbal memory in midlife women: Evidence from a randomized trial

Pauline M. Maki, Leah H. Rubin, Antonia Savarese, Lauren Drogos, Lee P. Shulman, Suzanne Banuvar, David R. Walega

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Objectives In a pilot randomized clinical trial of active stellate ganglion blockade (SGB) versus sham control, SGB significantly reduced the frequency of reported moderate to severe vasomotor symptoms (VMS) and the frequency of physiologic VMS measured using ambulatory skin conductance monitors. Here we examine secondary effects of SGB on verbal learning and memory. Study design In a randomized, sham-controlled study, 36 women met eligibility criteria for cognitive assessments, of whom 17 were randomized to receive fluoroscopy-guided SGB and 19 to sham control. Main outcome measures At baseline and three months post-treatment, women completed tests of verbal learning and memory (primary outcome) and other cognitive measures and also wore an ambulatory monitor for 24 h to measure physiologic VMS and VMS reported in real time. Results Verbal learning improved following active SGB (p < 0.05) but not sham treatment; however, the interaction between group and time was not significant (p values 0.13-0.20). Two secondary cognitive measures improved only in the sham group. Improvements in physiologic VMS correlated significantly with improvements in verbal learning (r = 0.51, p < 0.05). Conclusions SGB might confer benefits to memory in relation to the magnitude of improvement in physiologic VMS. Broadly these findings suggest a possible link between physiologic VMS and memory problems in midlife women.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)123-129
Number of pages7
StatePublished - Oct 1 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Hot flash
  • Memory
  • Menopause
  • Stellate ganglion blockade
  • Vasomotor symptoms

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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