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Venkataraman: Analysis of relationship between memory functions and blood indices across parturition in primigravidae

Introduction: Psychoneuroendocrinology is a nascent and vibrant field of endocrinology revealing the unexplored paths of the diversifying field relating to cognitive functions and blood indices. The levels of substances such as endogenous opiates, beta-endorphins, etc., which are released during stressful situations (such as pregnancy) into the blood and that may reach the brain across the blood–brain barrier, are always under debate. Therefore, rather than estimating the levels in the blood, an indirect method of evaluation of cognitive status is more effective and reliable.

Objectives: To analyse the relationship that exists between memory functions and blood indices across parturition among the same primigravidae subjects.

Materials and methods: After obtaining informed consent, the study was conducted among a group of primigravidae by administering a selected battery of cognitive function tests and evaluation of specific blood indices across parturition. The statistical analysis, which included regression analysis, enabled us to eliminate the effect of age on the parameters considered. Paired t-tests were performed to establish the relationship between memory functions and blood indices across parturition among the same group of subjects.

Results: The results of the paired t-test revealed that the domains of general memory, mental control, immediate recall memory and symbolic memory were significantly impaired during pregnancy compared with post parturition. Whereas the domains of orientation and digit cognition were not significantly impaired. Analysis of blood indices reveals that mean corpuscular haemoglobin, mean corpuscular haemoglobin concentration and mean corpuscular volume showed statistically significant differences during pregnancy compared with post parturition. Whereas haemoglobin, total white blood cell count and platelet count showed no statistically significant difference.

Conclusions: The analysis revealed the presence of a decrease in memory functions and blood indices during pregnancy compared with post parturition.

Acknowledgements: Ms Ramachandra University for providing the platform and encouragement. Dr Semmal for his guidance and supervision. The Indian Council of Medical Research for sponsoring this research work.




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