Durham University Logo Apparent benefits of hormone therapy (HT) recently came into the limelight. A recent study undertaken by Durham University asserts that postmenopausal women taking HT have brains function more like those of younger women. The findings may pave way for understanding the influence of sex hormones on the brain.

Initiated for over ten years, the study claims that variations in brain organization at different times of a woman’s menstrual cycle may occur. These changes are probably in the brain organization at different times of a woman’s menstrual cycle. HT supposedly aids in opening the gateway between the left and right side of the brain and urges interaction between the two halves. At the time of the study, 62 postmenopausal women were divided into three groups. While the first group was subjected to hormone therapy with estrogen and second undertook a combination of estrogen and synthetic gestagens, third was not provided with HT.

“Sex hormones are powerful in changing the way the brain is organized, and can affect not only sexual and reproductive behavior but also cognitive functioning. The tests with postmenopausal women show that HT can help both sides of the brain pull their weight, much in the same way as the brain organises itself in younger women. We hope to establish whether sex hormones can make the brain less vulnerable to the effects of stroke and other injuries by ‘sharing’ the load between the two hemispheres as women get older. However, more research is needed on this,” highlighted Dr. Markus Hausmann, Durham University psychologist and lead investigator.

Participants had to complete tasks of fine motor coordination, such as sequential finger tapping. The left and right sides of the brain possibly worked more closely together than women of the same age who were not taking the sex hormone drugs. Such activities seem to imitate the brain activity of younger women who naturally produce sex hormones in their bodies. It is anticipated that sex hormones make the brain more resistant to damage through stroke or other injuries. During the study women had to tap buttons with their fingers in certain orders of varying difficulties. Also they had to complete any given sequence five times on each hand within ten seconds.

Scientists assume that right-handers perform better with their dominant right hand than with the left hand. The relative difference between hands is seemingly declined when the task is rather complex. When both hands perform more equally, it signifies that the two brain halves are interacting more. Similar results were registered in women taking HT than among those not using the therapy. Additional investigations can be commenced for showing the way these tasks affect everyday lives of women.

The study is published in the academic journal Hormones and Behavior.