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Brain changes linked to seizures and anxiety during menstrual cycle' – study

19 May 2005

A new study, published in the journal Nature Neuroscience, has shown that changes in certain brain cells during the menstrual cycle can affect seizures and anxiety.

researchers claim their findings could lead to new therapies for
catamenial epilepsy (seizures triggered by hormonal changes during the
menstrual cycle), premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD) and other
central nervous system symptoms associated with the menstrual cycle.

their findings on a study of the oestrous cycle in mice (the equivalent
of the human menstrual cycle), changes in the hippocampus area of the
brain during the cycle were identified. These changes are linked to an
altered behaviour of nerve cells, which in turn changes the
susceptibility to seizures and anxiety.

changes may trigger seizures in women with catamenial epilepsy and may
lead to the increased anxiety women in general experience during PMDD,
according to the researchers. The next step, they claim, will be to
determine the precise mechanisms behind these changes.

Lead researcher Dr Istvan Mody, professor of neurology at the Reed Neurological Research Center at the University of California, Los Angeles, said:

have to find the molecular identities of the players responsible for
changing the number of these receptors on the surface of nerve cells.
This may be quite relevant to the way nerve cells respond to stimuli in
the human brain during the menstrual cycle.'