Alexandra Ycaza Herrera

Alexandra Ycaza Herrera
University of Southern California | USC · School of Gerontology

PhD

About

10
Publications
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186
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Introduction
My research focuses on the intersection of sex hormones and the stress response. In particular, the ability of estradiol to modulate the cortisol response and cognition in women. To accomplish this, I study the effects of hormonal contraceptive use and post-menopausal estradiol treatment on the stress response and effects of stress on cognition. I utilize a number of modalities in my research program including behavioral testing, fMRI, and ELISAs for hormone measurements.

Publications

Publications (10)
Article
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Background : The current pilot study was designed to examine the association between hippocampal γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA) concentration and episodic memory in older individuals, as well as the impact of two major risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease (AD)—female sex and Apolipoprotein ε4 ( ApoE ε4) genotype—on this relationship. Methods : Twenty h...
Article
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Hormonal contraceptives (HCs) affect various processes related to emotion processing, including emotional memory, fear extinction, and the cortisol response to stress. Despite the modulating role of HCs on the stress response in women and variance in synthetic hormone levels across the HC cycle, little is known about the phase-related effects of HC...
Article
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Taking hormonal contraceptives (HC) affects the magnitude of the hormonal stress response and cognition. HC are usually administered in a monthly cycle with both synthetic-hormone-containing and synthetic-hormone-absent phases. The synthetic hormones contained in HC affect a wide range of neurophysiological systems, suggesting that effects of the m...
Article
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The stress response differs between women using hormonal contraception and naturally cycling women. Yet, despite ample evidence showing that the stress response differs across the menstrual cycle in naturally cycling women, limited work has investigated whether the stress response differs across the hormonal contraceptive cycle, during which synthe...
Article
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Across three different domains, there are similar sex differences in how men and women process information. There tends to be a male advantage in attending to and remembering the gist (essential central information of a scene or situation), but a female advantage in attending to and remembering the details (non-essential peripheral information of a...
Article
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Context Postmenopausal estradiol therapy (ET) can reduce the stress response. However, it remains unclear whether such reductions can mitigate effects of stress on cognition. Objective Investigate effects of ET on cortisol response to a physical stressor, cold pressor test (CPT), and whether ET attenuates stress effects on working memory. Design...
Article
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Studies with animals of both sexes show that the adrenal glands release progesterone in addition to cortisol in response to stress. However, little is known about the progesterone response to stress in naturally cycling women. We investigated the effect of stress on estradiol, progesterone, and cortisol levels in women during the follicular phase o...
Article
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YCAZA HERRERA, A. and M. Mather. Actions and interactions of estradiol and glucocorticoids in cognition and the brain: Implications for post-menopausal women. NEUROSCI BIOBEHAV REV XX(X) XXX-XXX, 2015. Menopause involves dramatic declines in estradiol production and levels. Importantly, estradiol and the class of stress hormones known as glucocorti...
Article
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Neutral cues that predict emotional events (emotional harbingers) acquire emotional properties and attract attention. Given the importance of emotional harbingers for future survival, it is desirable to flexibly learn new facts about emotional harbingers when needed. However, recent research revealed that it is harder to learn new associations for...

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