Title

Estrogen replacement therapy induces functional asymmetry on an odor memory/discrimination test

Document Type

Article

Department

Otolaryngology, Head and Neck Surgery

Abstract

The secondary afferents of the olfactory system largely project to the ipsilateral cortex without synapsing in the thalamus, making unilateral olfactory testing a useful probe of ipsilateral hemispheric activity. In light of evidence that lateralized performance on some perceptual tasks may be influenced by estrogen, we assessed left:right nostril differences in two measures of olfactory function in 14 post-menopausal women receiving estrogen replacement therapy (ERT) and 48 post-menopausal women receiving no such therapy. Relative to women not taking ERT, those receiving ERT exhibited better performance in the left nostril and poorer performance in the right nostril on an odor memory/discrimination test. Similar laterality effects were not observed for an odor detection threshold test employing phenyl ethyl alcohol. These results suggest that estrogen influences the lateralization of an odor memory/discrimination task and that hormone replacement therapy in the menopause may be an excellent paradigm for understanding lateralizing effects of hormones on some sensory processes. (C) 2008 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Publication

Brain Research