Studies reveals the uterus influences working memory – the type of short-term info processing engaged in completing tasks such as reasoning, and navigation.
“People talk a lot about the ovary-brain connection because we know now that estrogen and progesterone have such marked effects on things like memory. But we hope that scientists will start thinking about the uterus-ovary-brain system instead of just the ovary-brain system,” said Heather Bimonte-Nelson, senior author of published research in Endocrinology.
About one-third of women have had their uterus taken out by age 60, and a majority of these surgeries happened before the onset of menopause due to endometriosis, fibroids (painful benign lesions), hyperplasia (when the uterine lining is abnormally thick, causing heavy bleeding), uterine prolapse, and cancer.
Evidence up until this point inferred that a uterus had no purpose outside bearing offspring. Though a six-week study in a lab (with rats), proved otherwise.
After a six weeks, each rat’s working memory was tested in a water maze with 8 passages diverging from a central point. Hidden platforms were placed at the end of four passages that the rodents could crawl onto.
The rats were put into the center of the maze, and giving they swam to a platform, they were pulled out of the maze. Each rat was then arranged into the maze again so they could learn which arms enclosed platforms.
The team was shocked to find that the rats with removed uterus’ fared much worse at remembering where the platforms were compared to the other groups. “Performance did not differ amongst groups in reference memory-only tasks,” noted the testers, “suggesting that the working memory domain is particularly sensitive to variations in surgical menopause.”
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