What is Cognition?
Before we start talking about specific hormones and their effects on our brain, let’s first define cognition.
Cognition refers to the brain’s ability to process information. It’s composed of many facets, including memory storage, recall, learning, thinking, and problem-solving. People who have problems in their cognitive functions may experience difficulties in performing their daily activities.
For instance, people who have progressive Alzheimer’s disease may one day need someone to take care of them as they might forget how to do simple tasks, such as bathing and meal preparation.
Please note that many factors affect our cognitive functions, including stress, environment, aging, lifestyle, and of course, genetics. Interestingly, numerous studies revealed that even hormones could influence our brain and cognition.
So, how can a hormonal imbalance affect the mind?
A growing number of studies suggest that the sex hormone estrogen can act as a neuro-protector that positively influences certain cognitive functions like memory.
Come to think of it, estrogen therapy is a recommended treatment for post-menopausal women who experience a decline in their cognitive function. Likewise, researchers believe that it can also reduce the risk of neurodegenerative disorders like dementia.