Birth control pill alters women’s emotional memory: new research

IRVINE, California, September 15, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Women on the birth control pill are less likely to retain factual details in memories of emotional events, according to new University of California, Irvine (UCI) research.

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

In the study, which appears in the September issue of the journal Neurobiology of Learning and Memory, groups of women either on the pill or experiencing natural hormonal cycles were shown photographs of a mother, her son, and a car accident. Some in each group were told the car had hit a curb, while others were told the car had hit the boy and critically injured him.

One week later, all were given surprise tests about what they recalled. Women not using hormonal contraceptives remembered more details, such as a fire hydrant next to the car, than women on the pill for as little as one month. Women on the pill remembered more clearly the “gist” of the event, that there had been an accident, that the boy had been rushed to the hospital, and that doctors worked to save his life and successfully reattached both his feet.

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