Don’t get hormonal
Posted by hannahflynn on January 15, 2009
Oestrogen will shrink your brain (if you are old) and then make you unfaithful (if you are young) according to papers out this week.
The third most popular story on New Scientist today is about a piece of research showing young women with naturally high levels of oestrogen are more likely to man-hop and will consider themselves more attractive, than their peers.
“The researchers also asked the students, who averaged 19 years and five months, to rate their own attractiveness and fill out a survey that gauged their propensity to cheat on a partner by flirting, kissing, dating, having sex, or maintaining a serious affair.”
Apparently losing weight, exercising and aging all contribute to a drop in levels of oestradiol (a precursor to oestrogen). Though bafflingly researcher Kristina Durrent uses Angelina Jolie as an example of a women exhibiting the type of behaviour that has evolved in women with high oestradiol, though as far as I can see she was not in the trail.
Perhaps it was to do with her shrunken brain, though according to researchers this only happens to women who have taken HRT.
Elderly women given HRT were found to have a slight drop in the size of two brain areas important in memory, compared to women on a placebo. (See http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/whi/)
However there is conflicting evidence as another study found no difference between women on HRT and women on a placebo.
It will be interesting to see how these findings shape public attitudes to them as studies in 2002 and 2004 were haltedafter links were found between HRT, heart attacks, strokes and breast cancer.
The authors then recommend doctors reconsider prescribing combined oestrogen and progestin treatment for long term use.