Birth control pills shrink women's brains

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Common sense should tell you that a pharmaceutical that stops women from ovulating must be a very powerful drug. So it should not surprise us that studies have shown oral contraceptives or birth control pills put women at enhanced risks for glaucoma and multiple sclerosis.
Now add brain shrinkage to the list.
A new study out of UCLA found that the birth control pill may thin areas in a woman’s brain and affect their functions in regulating emotional reaction and future planning.
Only women using the combination form of oral contraceptives were used in the study – it did not measure women using progesterone-only or other forms of oral contraceptives. The research found that oral contraceptive use was significantly associated with a thinning in two areas of the brain: the lateral orbitofrontal cortex and the posterior cingulate cortex.
The lateral orbitofrontal cortex is involved in emotion regulation and response to rewards, while the posterior cigulate cortex regulates inward-directed thought, such as recalling personal memories or planning for the future.
The research study by Nicole Petersen, Alexandra Touroutoglou, Joseph M. Andreano and Larry Cahill, “Oral contraceptive pill use is associated with localized decreases in cortical thickness,” was published in April 2015 in the journal Human Brain Mapping. Here’s the abstract:

Oral contraceptive pills (OCs), which are used to prevent pregnancy by the majority of women in the United States, contain steroid hormones that may affect the brain’s structure and function. In this investigation, we tested the hypothesis that OC use is associated with differences in brain structure using a hypothesis-driven, surface-based approach. In 90 women, (44 OC users, 46 naturally-cycling women), we compared the cortical thickness of brain regions that participate in the salience network and the default mode network, as well as the volume of subcortical regions in these networks. We found that OC use was associated with significantly lower cortical thickness measurements in the lateral orbitofrontal cortex and the posterior cingulate cortex. These regions are believed to be important for responding to rewards and evaluating internal states/incoming stimuli, respectively. Further investigations are needed to determine if cortical thinning in these regions are associated with behavioral changes, and also to identify whether OC use is causally or only indirectly related to these changes in brain morphology.

Although the study only measured brain structure, the findings suggest that there could be possible effects on behavior.
Nicole Petersen
According to Catholic World Report, May 15, 2015, Dr. Nicole Petersen, a neuroscientist at UCLA and the study’s lead author, noted that “Some women experience negative emotional side effects from taking oral contraceptive pills, although the scientific findings investigating that have been mixed. So it’s possible that this change in the lateral orbitofrontal cortex may be related to the emotional changes that some women experience when using birth control pills.
Larry Cahill
Since the UCLA study is one of the first of its kind in measuring effects of the birth control pill on brain structure, it’s difficult for scientists to draw any definite conclusions at this point. But Dr. Larry Cahill, a professor of neurobiology and behavior at the University of California-Irvine and a co-author of the study, said he’s amazed at the lack of research considering how long the pill has been on the market: “You might think after 50 years and hundreds of millions of women taking various incarnations of the pill, there would be a large and cohesive and impressive body of evidence on it, but there’s next to nothing. I honestly find that amazing.”
Although Cahill cautioned against a panic or alarm because of the recent study, he said it raises further questions for research that are important to the millions of women who use oral contraceptives every day. For example, follow-up studies are needed to determine whether the thinning effect is permanent, or whether it just occurs if a woman is currently using the pill.
In April 2011, Cahill and three other researchers found that the emotional memory of women using hormonal contraception was more similar to that of men than of women. Combined with the evidence of the most recent study, Cahill said one group that might benefit from the pill’s possible impact on emotional memory could be women in combat or other traumatic situations. If using hormonal contraception, these women could be potentially less likely to develop post-traumatic stress disorder than naturally cycling women in similar situations, though more research is needed.
Dr. Cahill said these studies are part of a growing body of research on sex differences in the brain, which is challenging the long-held assumption that men and women are mostly biologically the same, save for their reproductive organs: “We’re all blinded by our assumptions, and there’s simply been an assumption…that any differences between (men and women) occur in the bikini zone and that’s it. And now we’re realizing, well, no. There’s sex differences all over the place. It’s important that we stop assuming that women are just men with pesky hormones.”
Cahill also said that he and his fellow researchers, by challenging established assumptions (otherwise called “prejudice”), have experienced “road blocks” in trying to publish their findings, because they are often dismissed as being “alarmist.” However, he believes that as a scientist, it’s important to continue to study the potentially good, bad or neutral effects of a medication that millions of women use for large portions of their life. He said:

“If I’m a woman on the pill, or I know a woman who’s on the pill…or I have a daughter who wants to go on the pill, you want to operate from knowledge, not from complete lack of knowledge. That was the goal, to explore what the pill might be doing just as we’ve been doing for 3 or 4 years.”

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0 responses to “Birth control pills shrink women's brains

  1. now i know why some of the females i’ve met who were proud of taking these pills, were the craziest psychos i met

  2. That does explain a lot about the idiot females who will vote for the witch . Lack of grey matter . Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

  3. traildustfotm

    Well, that explains it. 😀

  4. Informative essays like this one need to reach as many people as possible – more exposure – that is what is needed:
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    • The problem we face,Park,is that the people we’re talking about here don’t believe THEY are who we’re talking about. THEY think they’re smarter than THAT,or that we’re just making this stuff up to force our agenda on ’em,or we’re just #%$*@@&^’s. (Notice that when they’re LOSING an argument with a Conservative or they don’t HAVE a valid argument they resort to name-calling? THAT proves we’re RIGHT.)

  5. The eugenicists have been attacking the base unit of society, the family, for over 150 years now. This is diabolical in nature.

  6. Could there be a lack of substantial studies on the birth control pill on purpose? I think so. Very scary “chemical witchcraft” which is what a Catholic prophecy I read years ago called some medicines.

  7. This information is absolutely damming. When we turn against doing God’s will, and institute our own will, unfortunately we get to reap some nasty unintended consequences! After reading this I would not want any female I am related to to use any form of birth control that inundates the body with unnatural chemicals for any reason. This includes these vaccines that are being given to young people that keep them from contracting uro-genital viruses (I can’t seem to think of the right name for it, at the moment.) These things are horrible, yet the manufactures push them off onto the unsuspecting public, all the while telling the public how wonderful they are. We must always be aware of those who may wish to poison us to get gain!

  8. Kevin J Lankford

    Men and women are the same except for their genitalia? Just how stupid did they want us to get?
    Any thing that can interrupt the natural outcome of the physical joining of loving men and women certainly can be expected to have other harmful effects, Effects that some may consider acceptable.

  9. I’m just wondering if…. birth control pills affect the women who take them, altering their thinking processes, etc.
    … might it have the same effect on a man who has unprotected sex with such a woman (‘exposure to body fluids…..”)?
    Which could help explain the strangely illogical voting pattern in recent elections.
    Just sayin’ …..
    It might not just be a ‘female’ problem.
    Gentlemen, put a Trojan on your ‘horse’….

  10. well given that pharmaceutical companies producing prozac were well aware that the poison produced heightened agression and suicidal tendencies, in 1990.. perhaps it is not a stretch to suspect that the pharmaceutical corporations are producing these “medicines” with a much more targeted approach in mind, and they are not as “dumb” as they may wish to appear (crowley et al made mention of looking like an idiot in order to keep people from figuring out what a person is really up to, if I recall right, after all the idiot is granted excuse by society because of idiocy, and is seldom the suspect of intentional and calculated malevolence.)
    Perhaps “the pill” is engineered with these specific effects in mind, rather than as an “accidental collateral damage”, the effects may be intentional and precise, and calculated to produce these problems. Granted it remains to be proven that such is the case, but perhaps it is a direction that should be investigated. Lest we forget, evil wages war upon all creation, and evil is not just a foolish brute, but also a calculating villain motivated by hatred.


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