University Study Suggests the Pill Alters What Women Remember

Researchers at the University of California at Irvine have found that birth control pills may impact women’s memory. In a controlled experiment, women between the age of 18 and 35 were shown a series of slides relating to an auto accident. Two different audio tracks were played describing the scene. One said that the car had merely hit a curb. The second track said the car had hit a boy and critically injured him.

A week later, participants were quizzed on what they had seen and heard. Women who were taking oral contraceptives were significantly more likely to remember emotional parts of the storyline such as the boy’s injury. Women who were not taking the pills had clearer memories of minute details, such as the fact that there was a fire hydrant next to the car.

Shawn Nielsen, a researcher at the university, stated, “What’s most exciting about this study is it shows the use of hormonal contraception alters memory. It’s a change in the type of information they remember, not a deficit.”

The study was published in the journal Neurobiology of Learning and Memory.

Filed Under: Research/Study


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