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Understanding the Impact of Menstrual Cycle and Hormonal Changes on Cognitive Functions

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Ethan Sulliva
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Understanding the Impact of Menstrual Cycle and Hormonal Changes on Cognitive Functions

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In a significant shift from previous scientific assumptions, new research has found that hormonal changes across the menstrual cycle do not affect verbal or spatial skills. This suggests that menstruation may not have as much of an impact on cognitive functions such as word memorization and navigation as previously believed. This article delves into these new findings, providing valuable insights and breaking down common misconceptions.

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Debunking the Myth: Menstruation and Cognitive Skills

A recent study, as reported by IFLScience, has brought to light that hormonal fluctuations throughout the menstrual cycle do not affect verbal or spatial skills. The study analyzed these skills in female participants aged between 18 to 35 years. It was found that these skills remained relatively constant, indicating that the menstrual cycle does not impact these cognitive abilities as previously thought. However, it is worth noting that the study also suggested a need to explore further inter-individual variability, as menstruation might affect cognition differently for different people.

PCOS and Cognitive Dysfunction

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While the aforementioned study has debunked the myth on menstruation and cognitive skills, new research has unveiled another aspect of women's health that could potentially impact cognitive function. Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), a common hormonal disorder, has been linked to potential cognitive dysfunction in midlife. As reported by CNN and WIONews, the study found that people with PCOS demonstrated lower memory and thinking skills and even exhibited subtle brain changes at midlife. It's important to note that these are cognitive weaknesses, not impairments. The research calls for further investigation to confirm these findings and understand how these changes occur.

Concussion, Hormones, and Neurocognitive Performance

A separate study carried out on adolescent females who had suffered sports-related concussion (SRC) showed a potential link between menstrual cycle-related hormone levels and neurocognitive performance. The study, as reported in the journal Developmental Neuropsychology, suggested that progesterone levels might contribute to a heightened experience of symptoms during the acute phase of SRC, further emphasizing the complex relationship between hormonal changes and cognitive functions.

Conclusion: A Complex Relationship that Needs Further Study

The latest research clearly indicates that the relationship between hormonal changes, menstrual cycle, and cognitive functions is far more complex than previously assumed. While the menstrual cycle does not seem to impact verbal and spatial skills, conditions like PCOS and incidents like sports-related concussion could potentially affect cognitive function. These findings remind us of the importance of continuous research and the need to challenge pre-existing assumptions, with the ultimate aim of improving women's health and wellbeing.

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