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Oral contraceptive therapy modulates hemispheric asymmetry in spatial attention

4th Unit of Gynecology and Obstetrics-Dipartmento Ginecologia Ostetricia Neonatologia-Aldo Moro University of Bari Medical School, 70124 Bari, Italy.
Contraception (Impact Factor: 2.93). 12/2011; 84(6):634-6. DOI: 10.1016/j.contraception.2011.03.016
Source: PubMed

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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    • "As demonstrated by Hausmann [12], there is a more pronounced leftward bias in women compared to men, with evident differences during the midluteal and menses, indicating that the interhemispheric communication is hormone-related. In a previous study we demonstrated that hormonal supplementation, by means of oral contraceptive therapy, can influence bisection line performance in women, with less hand-use effect during treatment [13]. Our results confirmed that female hormones may promote an efficient interhemispheric communication between the RH, which dominates visuospatial attention, and the LH, which mainly controls the right-hand response. "
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