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Study on variation of simple reaction time during menstrual cycle among undergraduate medical students

Anusha Donadi, Tejaswi Munagapati, Srinivas Pernenkil.


Background: Females have a monthly cyclical change in the levels of estrogen and progesterone during the pre-menstrual and post-menstrual phase. These hormones affect the sensory-motor association. Measurement of reaction time in the pre- and the post-menstrual phase gives us an understanding of the effect of fluctuating levels of these hormones on the processing capabilities of the brain.

Aims and Objectives: The present study was aimed at assessing the influence of estrogen and progesterone on auditory reaction time (ART) and visual reaction time (VRT).

Materials and Methods: Fifty female undergraduate medical students having age between 18 and 21 years with eumenorrheic cycles were recruited in the study. ART and VRT were assessed in the pre- and the post-menstrual phase using digital reaction time apparatus for simple choice discriminative R.T with built-in timer and chronoscope with a display accuracy of 1 ms. The paired “t-test” was used for analyzing the results statistically.

Results: The current study showed a non-significant increase in ART (P = 0.611) and VRT (P = 0.512) values in the pre-menstrual phase.

Conclusion: There was no statistically significant influence of estrogen and progesterone on the reaction time. Even though the reaction time in pre-menstrual phase is higher than post-menstrual phase, the non-significant difference of reaction time between pre- and post-menstrual phase may be attributed to a similar lifestyle in all the study participants.

Key words: Ovarian Hormones; Post-menstrual Phase; Pre-menstrual Phase; Simple Reaction Time; Undergraduate Medical Students

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