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STUDY: Oral Contraceptives Linked To Shrinking Brain Sizes

By  Paul Bois
Woman holding contraceptive pills.
BSIP/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Taking contraceptives on a daily basis has harmful effects on the brain, according to at least one study.

According to LifeSiteNews, a recent study from the Radiological Society of North America showed that contraceptive pills may have the capacity to shrink a woman’s brain size.

“The study looked at MRI scans of 50 healthy women, 21 of whom were taking oral contraceptive pills, and found that ‘women taking birth control pills had significantly smaller hypothalamus volume,'” reports the outlet. “The hypothalamus helps to regulate key bodily functions such as the appetite, heart rate, body temperature, and emotions.”

The study was largely conducted due to the limited availability of “evidence on the structural and functional effects of hormonal contraceptives on the brain,” particularly the hypothalamus. In the initial press release, the study found a decreased hypothalamus could have disastrous effects on emotion while diagnosing no effect on overall cognitive performance.

“Smaller hypothalamic volume was also associated with greater anger and showed a strong correlation with depressive symptoms,” the study claimed. “The study found no significant correlation between hypothalamic volume and cognitive performance.”

Dr. Michael Lipton, medical director of MRI services at Montefiore Medical Center, said the differences in brain sizes between women ingesting oral contraceptives versus women who did not were “dramatic.”

“We found a dramatic difference in the size of the brain structures between women who were taking oral contraceptives and those who were not,” said Lipton. “We validated methods for assessing the volume of the hypothalamus and confirm, for the first time, that current oral contraceptive pill usage is associated with smaller hypothalamic volume. This initial study shows a strong association (between taking oral contraceptive pills and low hypothalamic volume) and should motivate further investigation into the effects of oral contraceptives on brain structure and their potential impact on brain function.”

As noted by LifeSiteNews, similar scientific studies have found oral contraceptives to have a negative effect on female biology.

“In 2016, Danish researchers who studied the medical histories of more than a million women over an 18-year period found that women who use hormonal contraceptives are more likely to be depressed,” reported the outlet. “A study conducted by German researchers in 2016 found that oral contraceptive pills may be damaging women’s sense of emotional connection. In 2017, another Danish study suggested a link between the use of hormonal contraceptives and mood disturbances linked to increased suicide rates.”

In 2017, another study from The New England Journal of Medicine shows that long-term hormonal contraception ingested for as long as 10 years increases the risk of breast cancer by 38%. Dr. David Agus, a University of Southern California physician, said at the time that the dosage size did not matter.

“This is the first study that had shown intrauterine devices with hormones having association with breast cancer in large numbers,” he said. “With the lower dose of oral contraceptives, we thought there wouldn’t be as much of a risk as the higher dose but it turns out to be the same — about a 20 percent increase in breast cancer overall.”

The risk for breast cancer increases by the year, beginning at 9% in year one and then progressing to 38% by year 10.

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