Consumer & Behavioral Neuroscience

Birth Control Pills May Improve Women’s Cognitive Abilities Later In Life

Birth Control Pills May Improve Women’s Cognitive Abilities Later In Life

“A new study shows that taking hormonal birth control before menopause may improve women’s cognitive function later in life, leaving them sharper and more mentally “with it” than peers who weren’t on the pill.”

Here a link to the actual study:

“Cognitive results were analyzed using summary scores for the domains of Verbal Ability, Visuo-spatial Ability, Working Memory, Verbal Learning & Memory, and Speed & Flexibility derived using a confirmatory factor analysis.”

261 women between the ages of 40 and 65 participated in this study and compared for whether or not and how long they used oral contraceptives.

Basically, the longer the women had been on the pill, the better they performed on cognitive tasks.

These are preliminary results however, and it still remains to be figured out if this would prevent cognitive decline with age or what mechanisms were effected.

In a previous life I examined the effects of soy phytoestrogens on obesity and feeding behavior. And it looks like there is some work being done on this… However in this study, post-menopausal women were examined and they found no effect on cognitive performance. Other studies seem to give mixed results.

I also wonder if there are differences between women on HRT (hormone replacement therapy) and those not… oh, there it is:  But once again, there seems to be an effect of HRT decreasing dementia… but it’s still preliminary and limited.

3 comments on “Birth Control Pills May Improve Women’s Cognitive Abilities Later In Life

  1. Casey
    November 22, 2012

    Probably true, because birth control = less children thus securing brain capacity for future use (like cleverly navigating your wheelchair through the casino). Just ask any mom.

  2. Video
    November 27, 2012

    Maybe you’re less stressed because you’re not worried about getting pregnant and are free to worry about more important things?

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