Oral contraceptive therapy modulates hemispheric asymmetry in spatial attention
ABSTRACT Functional cerebral asymmetries (FCAs) are known to fluctuate across the menstrual cycle. The visual line-bisection task administered to normally cycling women showed different patterns of the interhemispheric interactions during menses and the midluteal cycle phase. However, the contribution of estrogens and progestins hormones to this phenomenon is still unclear.
The aim of our study was to show a variation of FCAs in women administered oral contraceptives (OCs) using the visual line-bisection task. Visual line-bisection task with three horizontal lines was administered to 36 healthy women taking a 21-day OC. Twenty-nine patients were right handed. The task was administered during OC intake (day 10) and at the end of the pill-free period.
The right-handed women showed a significant leftward bias of veridical center on the first and third lines during OC intake compared with an opposite rightward bias during the pill-free period. The same phenomenon of contralateral deviation was observed in left-handed women on day 10 of OC intake.
The results of this study confirm a hormonal modulation on interhemispheric interaction and suggest that OCs may improve the interhemispheric interaction reducing FCAs compared with the low hormone level period. This opens new insights in OC prescription and choice of administration schedule in order to improve cognitive performances.
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ABSTRACT: Sex hormonal variations have been shown to affect functional cerebral asymmetries in cognitive domains, contributing to sex-related differences in functional cerebral organization. The aim of this study was to investigate spatial attention by means of a bisection line test and computer-supported attention task during the menstrual cycle in healthy women compared to men, in basal condition and under Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (TDCS) of the left parietal cortex. Women were studied during the menses, follicular and luteal phases, ascertained by transvaginal ultrasounds. In basal conditions, women showed a clear deviation toward the right in the bisection line test during the menstrual phase, similarly to men. The midpoint recognition in the computer-supported attention task was not influenced by the menstrual cycle for women, while men showed a significant increase in errors toward the left side. The anodal activation of the left parietal cortex did not affect the line bisection task, while in men it reduced the total amount of errors in midpoint recognition observed in the computer supported attention task. The hand-use effect demonstrated by the bisection-line test could be influenced by estrogen fluctuations, while the right hemisphere prevalence in spatial attention appears to be gender-related and scarcely influenced by the menstrual cycle. The left parietal cortex seems to exert a scarce effect on hand-use effect, while its activation is able to revert sex related right hemisphere supremacy.Neuroscience Letters 05/2014; DOI:10.1016/j.neulet.2014.05.014 · 2.06 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Combined oral contraceptives (OCs) are the most commonly prescribed medications in women of reproductive age, but despite widespread use, their effect on cognitive performance remains controversial. Given strong evidence to support the neurological impact of reproductive hormones, a clear rationale for investigation exists. This systematic review sought to identify, collate and critically appraise studies assessing the impact of OCs on cognition in healthy premenopausal women. Ovid MEDLINE, PsychINFO and Embase were comprehensively searched using relevant keywords for original peer-reviewed observational studies or randomised trials published after 1960. Of 1289 references screened, 22 studies were eligible for inclusion. Assembled evidence supports a cognitive impact of OCs restricted to specific domains, however the quality of evidence is poor. The most consistent finding is improved verbal memory with OC use. Evidence is also emerging that differing progestin androgenicity may lead diverse OC formulations to differentially impact certain cognitive domains, e.g. visuospatial ability. At present, evidence is inconclusive, contradictory and limited by methodological inconsistencies. There is scope for further research in this area to definitively determine the cognitive impact of OCs.Contraception 08/2014; 90(2). DOI:10.1016/j.contraception.2014.03.015 · 2.93 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Oral contraceptives (OCs), often referred to as "the pill", are the most commonly employed form of reversible contraception. OCs are comprised of combined synthetic estrogen and progestin, which work to suppress ovulation and subsequently protect against pregnancy. To date, almost 200 million women have taken various formulations of OC, making it one of the most widely consumed classes of medication in the world. While a substantial body of literature has been dedicated to understanding the physical effects of OCs, much less is known about the long term consequences of OC use on brain anatomy and the associated cognitive effects. Accumulating evidence suggests that sex hormones may significantly affect human cognition. This phenomenon has been commonly studied in older populations, such as in post-menopausal women, while research in healthy, pre-menopausal women remains limited. The current review focused on the effects of OCs on human cognition, with the majority of studies comparing pre-menopausal OC users to naturally cycling women. Human neuroimaging data and animal studies are also described herein. Taken together, the published findings on OC use and human cognition are varied. Of those that do report positive results, OC users appear to have improved verbal memory, associative learning and spatial attention. We recommend future research to employ blinding procedures and randomised designs. Further, more detailed information pertaining to the specific generation and phasic type of OCs, as well as menstrual cycle phase of the OC non-users should be considered to help unmask the potential impact of OC use on human cognition.Neurochemical Research 09/2014; 39(12). DOI:10.1007/s11064-014-1444-6 · 2.55 Impact Factor