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Thursday, 29 September 2011

Study: Birth Control Pills Affect Memory

According to a new UC Irvine research, women who take birth control pills experience memory change. This research basically studies the influence of hormonal contraception on memory. Nielsen (researcher) is of the view that medication doesn’t damage memory. It only changes the type of information that the brain remembers.

In spite of the fact that birth control pills are used by more than 100 million women across the globe, till now there are only a handful of studies that have studied the effect of birth control pills on memory.

Researcher, Larry Cahill has contributed these changes to suppressed sex hormones such as estrogen and progesterone to prevent pregnancy. Previously, these hormones were linked to strong ‘left- brain’ memory.

In this study, a group of women on contraception and another one not on any form of hormonal contraception were shown photographs of a car accident, that of a mother and her son. The audio narratives were different for some women. Some were told that boy was critically injured after the car hit him, while the others were told that car hit the curb. After one week, all the women were asked to recall the story. Results showed that women who were on hormonal contraceptives for less than a month clearly remembered the main steps in the traumatic event. But women who were not using hormonal contraceptives remembered more details.

Women on oral contraceptives remembered different elements of the story. This shows that estrogen had in fact affected how these women remembered emotional events.

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