Scans Show How Hormone Levels Affect Female Brain

U.S. News Health

Fluctuations during menstrual cycle may influence processing of emotional information, study finds

Posted: October 26, 2010

TUESDAY, Oct. 26 (HealthDay News) — Hormone levels at certain phases of the menstrual cycle affect women’s emotional responses, finds a new study.

Researchers used MRI to study the brains of women who viewed a series of pictures and rated them as pleasant, unpleasant or neutral. This test was repeated at different stages of the women’s menstrual cycles.

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In the early follicular stage of the menstrual cycle, no areas of the women’s brains showed significantly increased activation while viewing the pictures. But during the midpoint of their menstrual cycle, when hormone levels were higher, the women had increased activity in the lateral prefrontal cortex and other areas of the brain involved in processing emotional information, the researchers found.

The study was to be presented Oct. 25 at the annual meeting of the American Society for Reproductive Medicine in Denver, Colo.

“This research sheds light on what may prove to be an important role for hormones when it comes to processing emotions,” president-elect Dr. Rogerio Lobo said in a society news release.

Previous studies have found that the rate of affective disorders (mood disorders) is two times higher in women than in men. Many experts believe this difference is due to sex hormones.

More information

WomensHealth.gov has more about menstruation, menopause and mental health.

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So when we were told it was all in our head – it was true! Science has now proven that PMS and PMDD and PPD are the result of hormone imbalance and should be treated as such….. in fact balancing the neurotransmitters in the brain (the brain’s communication system) is crucial to endocrine/immune system balancing.

PG

Author: Leslie Carol Botha

Author, publisher, radio talk show host and internationally recognized expert on women's hormone cycles. Social/political activist on Gardasil the HPV vaccine for adolescent girls. Co-author of "Understanding Your Mood, Mind and Hormone Cycle." Honorary advisory board member for the Foundation for the Study of Cycles and member of the Society for Menstrual Cycle Research.