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IPFS News Link • Drugs and Medications

Contraceptives May Slow Brain Development And Increase Risk-Taking Behavior In Teens, Study Suggests

•, by Tyler Durden

Adolescents commonly use hormonal contraceptives despite the unknown effects on brain and behavioral maturation, prompting scientists at Ohio State University to explore how common synthetic hormones used for birth control affect the prefrontal cortex—an area of the brain essential to regulating emotional behaviors and executive function.

In the study, presented during a Nov. 12, 2023, poster session at an annual meeting of the Society for Neuroscience, researchers gave a combination of synthetic estrogen and progesterone in hormone-based contraceptives to female rats from early to late adolescence and compared their behavior and brain tissue to untreated rats. 

Because synthetic hormones found in contraceptives decrease the ovaries' production of natural progesterone and estrogen to prevent ovulation, researchers looked at how the brain is affected by these hormonal differences when it is still developing.