Colored coronal magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan of the brain of a healthy.
Colored coronal magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan of the brain of a healthy, premenopausal 32-year-old woman. A recent study in Nature Mental Health found that during the menstrual cycle, women experience changes in the volume of specific brain regions.

The Menstrual Cycle Can Reshape Your Brain

UC Noyce Initiative researcher prominently featured in National Geographic article.

emily jacobs portrait
Emily Jacobs, Ph.D.
Director, Ann S. Bowers Women's Brain Health Initiative

In February 2024, National Geographic prominently featured the work of UC Noyce Initiative researcher and neuroscientist from UC Santa Barbara, Emily Jacobs, in an article that focuses on how the brain changes throughout the menstrual cycle. 

The article shares that recent MRI scans of women's brains show that the rise and fall of estrogen during the menstrual cycle dramatically reshapes regions of the brain that govern emotions, memory, behavior and the efficiency of information transfer. Jacobs, who is director of the Ann S. Bowers Women’s Brain Health Initiative—a project that receives funding from the UC Noyce Initiative—gave perspective as to why this matters. 

"Through these studies, we now have this picture emerging of how potent these hormones are for shaping, not just brain morphology but also the functional architecture," Jacobs said in the article.

Read the full National Geographic Article by Sanjay Mishra.

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