Memory function in women with premenstrual complaints and the effect of serotonergic stimulation by acute administration of an alpha-lactalbumin protein

J.A.J. Schmitt*, B.L. Jorissen, L. Dye, C.R. Markus, N.E. Deutz, W.J. Riedel

*Corresponding author for this work

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Serotonergic hypofunction may underlie at least part of the symptoms that are experienced by women with premenstrual complaints, including memory deficits. In the current study we investigated changes in memory functions in the premenstrual phase compared to the early postmenstrual phase in 16 women with premenstrual complaints. In addition, the effect of an acute serotonergic stimulation by administration of an alpha-lactalbumin protein on premenstrual memory performance was assessed using a double-blind placebo-controlled crossover design. It was found that both short-term and long-term memory for words (30-word learning task) and abstract figures (abstract visual learning task) were mildly impaired in the premenstrual phase. Administration of alpha-lactalbumin during the premenstrual phase could only partially attenuate the memory performance decrements that are seen in the premenstrual phase. Specifically, alphalactalbumin improved long-term memory for abstract figures, but not for words. There were no effects of menstrual phase or alpha-lactalbumin on planning functions (computerized Tower of London). The data suggest that serotonergic hypofunction may play a role in premenstrual memory decline, but serotonergic mechanisms cannot fully account for observed cognitive changes in the premenstrual phase.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)375-384
JournalJournal of Psychopharmacology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2005

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