Hormone Alters Memory in Some Women
New research from the National Institute of Mental Health suggests estrogen levels may impact memory in women who have a common gene variation. The recent study, which was conducted over several months, involved healthy women with both known variations of the gene that codes for brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF).
For the study, researchers manipulated estrogen levels and conducted brain scans--positron emission tomography (PET) and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI)—to monitor study participants’ brain activity as they performed working memory tasks. According to researchers, the scans revealed altered brain activity linked to hormonal fluctuations in women with the genetic variant.
This gene variation, which occurs in about one in four white women, may indicate an increased risk for mental health problems marked by memory deficits. Additional research is needed.
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