Washington: Ladies, please note – birth control pills affect memory, a new study has warned.

Researchers at the University of California have found that women who use contraceptives like birth control pills experience memory changes -- in fact, their ability to remember the gist of an emotional event improves, while women not using the contraceptives better retain details.
   
"What's most exciting about this study is that it shows the use of hormonal contraception alters memory. There are only a handful of studies examining the cognitive effects of the pill, and more than 100 million women use it worldwide," researcher Shawn Nielsen said.
   
She stressed that the medications did not damage memory. "It's a change in the type of information they remember, not a deficit," she said.
   
In the study, groups of women either on the contraceptive or experiencing natural hormonal cycles were shown photographs of a mother, her son, and a car accident. The audio narrative differed; some in each group were told the car had hit a curb, while others were told the car hit the boy and injured him, the 'Neurobiology of Learning and Memory' journal reported.

   
One week later, all were given surprise tests about what they recalled. Women using hormonal contraceptives for as little as one month remembered more clearly the main steps in the traumatic event -- that there had been an accident, that the boy had been rushed to the hospital, that doctors worked to save his life and successfully reattached both his feet.

Women not using them remembered more details, such as a fire hydrant next to the car.

The researchers said the findings could help lead to fuller answers about why women experience post traumatic stress syndrome more frequently than men, and how men remember differently than women.

(Agencies)