Use of birth control pills alters memory

A new UC Irvine research has found that women who use contraceptives like birth control pills experience memory changes.

“What’s most exciting about this study is that it shows the use of hormonal contraception alters memory,” said UCI graduate researcher Shawn Nielsen.

She stressed that the medications did not damage memory.

“It’s a change in the type of information they remember, not a deficit.”

The change makes sense, said Nielsen, because contraceptives suppress sex hormones such as estrogen and progesterone to prevent pregnancy.

Those hormones were previously linked to women’s strong “left brain” memory.

Nielsen and fellow researcher Nicole Ertman agreed the findings could help lead to fuller answers about why women experience post traumatic stress syndrome more frequently than men, and how men remember differently than women.

The work appeared in the September issue of the journal Neurobiology of Learning and Memory.

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