ory. In recent animal studies, Galea and her colleagues examined the effect of low and high levels of estradiol on working and reference memory. Working memory, or short-term memory, manipulates and retrieves information that is needed for a temporary task; it decays rapidly. Reference memory involves the long-term storage of information, and is stable over time. "When you remember where your car is in a shopping center parking lot on any given day, you're using working memory," explains Galea. "When you find the shopping center parking lot day after day, you're using reference memory."
In their study, Galea and her colleagues removed the ovaries from adult female rats (to eliminate naturally produced estrogens) and then gave the rats various levels of estradiol. "We found that low levels of estradiol improved the animals' working memory, but high levels impaired both their working and their reference memory," says Galea. In addition to modulating forms of learning and memory, estradiol influences cell growth in many areas of the brain--and, as Galea and her colleagues have found--estradiol's effects on that growth are different in the brains of males and females. In recent animal studies, Galea and her colleagues discovered that high levels of estradiol in females initially increased, then subsequently suppressed, the production of new brain cells in the dentate gyrus of the hippocampus, an area of the brain that is involved in learning and memory and that produces new neurons throughout life. This same pattern does not appear to be similar in the male brain. Once the new brain cells were formed, however, estradiol enhanced their survival differently in males and females. "In male rats, estradiol enhanced the survival of new cells only during a discrete period of time," says Galea, "but in females, the estradiol-induced enhancement of new neurons occurred during all the time periods tested."
As these and other studies show, estradiol has complex iPage: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 Related medicine news :1
Contact: Leah Ariniello
Society for Neuroscience
. Gender gap for lung cancer rates narrowing2
. Gender a factor in who gets bypass surgery3
. Gender bias in child growth evaluations may miss disease in girls4
. Gender bias leaves South Asias women in poor health5
. Gender differences in brain response to pain6
. Gender and geography increase racial disparities in health care, Dartmouth study shows7
. Gender preferences in comfort foods stem from childhood8
. Gender differences apparent in psychological factors that predict later hypertension9
. Gender differences in general aviation crashes10
. Gender-specific intervention may be needed to improve diets of african-american youth11
. Gender differences in private substance abuse treatment retention