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: 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; · 3.09 Impact Factor
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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; · 2.03 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Steroid sex hormones are responsible for some of the differences between men and women. In this article, I review evidence that steroid sex hormones impact on visual processing. Given prominent sex-differences, I focus on three topics for sex hormone effects for which there is most research available: 1. Preference and mate choice, 2. Emotion and recognition, and 3. Cerebral/perceptual asymmetries and visual-spatial abilities. For each topic, researchers have examined sex hormones and visual processing using various methods. I review indirect evidence addressing variation according to: menstrual cycle phase, pregnancy, puberty, and menopause. I further address studies of variation in testosterone and a measure of prenatal testosterone. 2D:4D, on visual processing. The most conclusive evidence, however, comes from experiments. Studies in which hormones are administrated are discussed. Overall, many studies demonstrate that sex steroids are associated with visual processing. However, findings are sometimes inconsistent, differences in methodology make strong comparisons between studies difficult, and we generally know more about activational than organizational effects.Frontiers in Neuroendocrinology 08/2013; · 7.99 Impact Factor