Why is it that medical journals are promoting the most ridiculous, flawed and baseless studies
recently? The latest from the journal
sponsored by big pharma, makes absurd conclusions that women taking the pill
brain functions and social skills.
It's touted as the first study that looked at the impact of the hormonal contraceptive on the brain. It found that the contraceptive of choice increases brain size by around 3 percent.
So does an increase in brain size by default result in an increase in social skills or intelligence? Absolutely not, but that's exactly what people like Dr Belinda Pletzer from Salzburg University, want us to believe. She said that the sex hormones in the Pill clearly have a "tremendous effect" on the female brain. She added:
"Larger volumes of a brain area could lead to an improvement of the functions this area is responsible for.
Looking at the brain areas involved in our study, which are larger in Pill users compared to naturally-cycling women, this could concern several higher order brain functions, especially memory and verbal skills. The behavioural changes due to contraceptive use are likely to affect those skills that are already better developed in women compared to men like, for example, memory."
So although the study did not test for higher brain functions, memory, verbal, spatial or social skills either pre- and post-scan, the scientists automatically assumed that an increase in brain matter size would lead to and increased capacity in these brain functions.
Do Larger Brains Mean Higher Brain Function?
Does that mean that people with larger brains and more grey matter have higher brain functions? Of course not. Brain weight and size have little or no effect on cognitive measures and this has been firmly established in unbiased scientific studies that have not artificially inflated their conclusions courtesy of a few nudges by big pharma.
Actually, strictly speaking within one species, in this case humans, brain size has historically been a rudimentary indicator of intelligence and many other factors affect brain function to a far greater degree. Only behavioral data can really show the significance of levels of encephalization in humans. So without testing the subjects for higher brain function, the subjects in this study could have expanded their brain matter without
any appreciable increase in intelligence. That's why its supposed to be "scientific study" implying you don't place radical assumptions in your conclusions without testing.
One of the most interesting phenomenons in brain development is how the adult brain has fewer neurons as it grows. There is an increase in brain size without a net increase in the number of neurons, and the dramatic reduction in the number of synapses as the brain matures. This has puzzled scientists for decades in efforts to discover what the brain is doing in order to learn.
At least the researchers had the common sense to declare that they have no clue how the Pill could have such an effect. Although some areas got bigger, the brain did not increase in overall size, and it is not known whether these parts shrink back to their original dimensions when a woman comes off the Pill.
The Dangers of the Pill
The bottom line: The Pill is dangerous, period! Such studies as the one above are a perfect fit for tabloid and gossip pieces, but they have little credibility and lots opposition by reputable scientists who are free from big pharma's funding and manipulation.
Blood Clots, Migraines, Weight Gain, Dull Libido
The pill has been associated with many side effects, including blood clots, migraines and weight gain. Perhaps least talked about is its tendency to dull libido by decreasing testosterone levels. Contraceptive drugs curb the hormone's production in the ovaries and also raise levels of sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG), a substance that takes it out of play and causes sexual dysfunction.
Heartburn, Sleep Disturbances, Constipation, Attraction
The pill exposes women to higher levels of hormones to overcome their own cycle. Some of the side effects of pregnancy are noticed in the pill.
That means women on the pill may experience heartburn, or constipation, or sleep disturbances, either as insomnia or extra sleepiness.
In a study of about 100 college students in the U.K., scientists found that the pill may change how women find a man's scent sexually attractive.
Depopulation initiatives over the past 100 years have also strongly encouraged the medical community to promote drugs which not only curb reproduction rates but also decrease perceived attractiveness of the opposite sex.
Trouble for Exercisers
If you're a young woman on birth control pills, a workout can spell trouble for your bones. "Birth control [pill] prevents the exercise from reaching its maximum effectiveness in protecting bone," said Connie Weaver, professor of foods and nutrition at Purdue.
It also impairs muscle gains from resistance exercise training in women.
A study from Belgium showed that long-term use of oral contraceptives increase the chances of having artery buildups that can raise the risk of heart disease.
Still think an increase in brain matter is worth taking the pill?
Marco Torres is a research specialist, writer and consumer advocate for healthy lifestyles. He holds degrees in Public Health and Environmental Science and is a professional speaker on topics such as disease prevention, environmental toxins and health policy.