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4 news posts in Female health

Featured news

07 Nov 2023

Contraceptive pills might impair fear-regulating regions in women’s brains

by Deborah Pirchner, Frontiers science writer Image: Fluctuations in sex hormones influence brain activity of the fear circuitry. A team of researchers in Canada has now examined the effects of oral contraceptive (OC) use on women’s brains. Their findings showed that ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC) thickness of women who were using OCs was reduced compared to men, suggesting a mechanism on how OC use could impair emotion regulation in women. Based on this study, this effect appears to be reversible after discontinuing use. More studies on impact and reversibility are needed, the researchers cautioned. More than 150 million women worldwide use oral contraceptives. Combined OCs (COCs), made up of synthetic hormones, are the most common type. Sex hormones are known to modulate the brain network involved in fear processes. Now a team of researchers in Canada has investigated current and lasting effects of COC use, as well as the role of body-produced and synthetic sex hormones on fear-related brain regions, the neural circuitry via which fear is processed in the brain. “In our study, we show that healthy women currently using COCs had a thinner ventromedial prefrontal cortex than men,” said Alexandra Brouillard, a researcher at Université du Québec […]

Featured news

16 May 2023

Occasional cannabis use during pregnancy may be enough to impact fetal growth significantly

By Deborah Pirchner, Frontiers science writer Image: As cannabis products are being legalized around the world, the notion that they are safe to consume – including during pregnancy – is rising. Now, researchers in the US have investigated if the timing of cannabis exposure impacts fetal growth. They found that exposure in just the first trimester resulted in a significant decrease in newborn weight. If exposure continued, effects got more severe, including reduced head circumference. The consumption of the drug is discouraged at any point during pregnancy, the researchers stressed. As more people use cannabis for recreational purposes, attitudes towards the drug have changed. For example, research has shown that dispensaries often recommend cannabis – also referred to as marijuana – to pregnant women to ease pregnancy symptoms, especially morning sickness. There is a growing body of literature attesting to poor child outcomes if cannabinoids are consumed during pregnancy. The exact effects on the developing fetus, however, remain unclear. Researchers in the US have now examined how timing of cannabis exposure during pregnancy impacts fetal development. “We show that even when marijuana use occurred only in the first trimester of pregnancy, birth weight was significant reduced, by more than […]