The contraceptive Pill could make women brainier

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  • The Pill could trigger growth in regions of the female brain concerned with memory and verbal skills.

    According to a recent study, taking the Pill induces growth in certain areas of the female brain.

    The study found that the contraceptive choice of a quarter of all 16 to 49 year olds, that about 3.5 million British women, increases the brain size by 3%.

    Dr. Belinda Pletzer, of Salzburg University, said: ‘Looking at the brain areas involved in our study, which are larger in Pill users compared to naturally-cycling women, this could concern several higher order brain functions, especially memory and verbal skills.’

    The study involved taking high-resolution images of the brain from 14 men and 28 women, half of whom were on the Pill.

    The Journal of Brain Research reports that several areas of the brains of women taking the Pill were larger than the brains of those not taking the contraceptive.

    The brand or type of contraceptive Pill taken, or the length of time it had been prescribed for, did not alter the results.

    The growth in the brain occurred in regions that scans had previously shown to be larger in women compared to men, like those involved in conversation.

    Alternatively, the contraceptive seemed to have little effect on areas more dominant in men such as spatial awareness.

    The reasons for the effects of the Pill on the female brain are not clear, but it has been suggested that the oestrogen or progesterone used to stop the release of eggs also strengthens the links between nerve cells in the brain.


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