(SCIENCE DAILY) – Lack of estrogen may play a role in the development of anxiety and memory problems, according to a new rodent study. The findings will be presented today at the American Physiological Society's (APS) Cardiovascular, Renal and Metabolic Diseases: Sex-Specific Implications for Physiology conference in Knoxville, Tennesee.
Estrogen, the primary female sex hormone, regulates the female reproductive system. As a woman approaches menopause, dwindling ovarian function – which results in low levels of ovarian hormones – causes the estrogen supply in the brain to drop. Areas of the brain that are involved in mood, behavior and cognition have a high concentration of proteins that bind to estrogen (estrogen receptors). Researchers from Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., and the Federal University of Ouro Preto in Brazil theorized that for this reason, "estrogen deficiency could lead to anxiety development and memory impairments."