Most of us recognize the uterus as an organ that plays a role in reproduction. Textbooks of obstetricians and gynecologists also read the same. However, the latest research has some unique claims to make.
Its findings suggest that the uterus is responsible for more than just reproduction and that an update in its role is due soon. The results of the study show that the uterus has a role to play in your memory. This becomes further evident in cases of women with hysterectomy, the surgical procedure that removes the uterus.
Here is more on what the study learned about the unique role that the uterus plays in the memory of an individual:
The Uterus and Its Impact on The Brain
This new research has been published in the journal Endocrinology. It has been conducted by researchers in the Arizona State University in Tempe and uncovers that the uterus communicates with the brain, affecting some cognitive processes.
The researchers of this animal study suggest that removing the uterus by hysterectomy has a definite impact on spatial memory. The study’s senior author, Prof. Heather Bimonte-Nelson, noted that there is some evidence that outlines that women who went through hysterectomy but maintained their ovaries were at an increased risk of having dementia.
The odds increased if the uterus removing surgery took place before natural menopause. The senior author further learned that the body’s autonomic nervous system that regulates automated metabolic processes such as breathing, sexual arousal, heart rate, digestion, and so on, is also linked to the brain and uterus.
Consequently, the researchers undertook the task of finding out how the uterus and the brain are interlinked.
What Did the Study Learn?
The researchers divided female rats into four groups. In three out of the four groups, the rats went through surgeries that mimicked hysterectomies, which is the surgical removal of the uterus, and oophorectomies, which is the surgical removal of the ovaries in humans.
In group one, the researchers removed the ovaries of the rats. In group two, the researchers removed the uteruses of the rats. And in the third group, the researchers removed both the uterus and ovaries of the rats.
In the fourth and last group, the rats were used as controls. They received a fake surgery after which their reproductive organs, both uterus and ovaries, were left intact. After 6 weeks of intervention, the researchers learned that the rodents who had been through hysterectomies found it hard to navigate through the mazes as the complexity was gradually upped.
Their memory of the maze appeared to be poorer in contrast with other rats in other groups. Consequently, they performed poorly as compared to rodents in the other groups. None of the other rodents showed any impact on their spatial memory or the mistakes they made in navigating the maze.
In a nutshell, the findings of this study showed that the uterus has a unique role to play in determining the spatial memory. There is more research needed to confirm this role of the uterus though.