Researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles in a study conducted on 90 women found that two key brain regions, the lateral orbitofrontal cortex and the posterior cigulate cortex, were thinner in women who used oral contraception than in those who did not.

The lateral orbitofrontal cortex plays an important role in emotion regulation and responding to rewards, while the posterior cigulate cortex is involved with inward-directed thought, and shows increased activity when we recall personal memories and plan for the future.

Changes in the lateral orbitofrontal cortex could be responsible for the increased anxiety and depressive symptoms that some women experience when they start taking the pill, researchers said.

The study was published in the journal Human Brain Mapping.

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