Female sex hormones, brain function and mental health: how sex hormones shape our brain

July 4, 2021DR Koncerthuset Copenhagen
Estrogen brains
Doors open: 18:15
Start programme: 19:15
DR Koncerthuset
Ørestads Blvd. 13

After a long break, in this second episode of Science & Cocktails, integrated in the Copenhagen Jazz Festival, Vibe Frøkjær will take you on a journey on female sex hormones and how they shape your brain, just after the Ethiopian jazz of Me Llamo Speedos.

How and why do sex hormones shape our brains? Why do some of us tolerate sex hormone transitions well, while others become depressed? Do hormonal contraceptives matter for risk and resilience towards depression? If not becoming depressed from the pill, how then may the pill affect brain function and behaviour? Do female sex hormones matter in the male brain? Can we prevent depressive episodes related to hormonal transitions?

The idea that women, per nature, are at higher risk for developing depression is provocative for many good reasons. Nevertheless, intriguingly, sex hormone transitions may trigger depressive episodes in certain sensitive women. We start to understand why.

At the same time sex hormone changes across puberty and pregnancy appear to rebuild our brains in important and adaptive ways, e.g. help prepare our brains for motherhood. Thus, sex hormone dynamics are very important in an evolutionary perspective and for mental health.

How do we navigate through potential exogenous hormone exposures and endogenous changes in ways that support mental health? Can some of these insights facilitate prevention of depressive episodes, which are twice as frequent in women as in men?

Vibe Frøkjær will cover frontline research that illuminate the profound effects sex hormone dynamics have on brain function and discuss evolutionary and mental health perspectives.

Before Me Llamo Speedos, a whole new constellation of jazz musicians, will play Ethiojazz and surf.

Event held in English. Corona pass required. Tickets available here.

This event has the generous support of the Novo Nordisk Foundation.


  • 19:15–  20:00Me Llamo Speedos – 
  • 20:30–  21:30Vibe Frøkjær – 

Talk by:

Vibe Frøkjær

Medical doctor with clinical experience in neurology and psychiatry. Associate Professor at the University of Copenhagen. Since 2002, Vibe has been involved in brain research based at Neurobiology Research Unit, Copenhagen University Hospital, Rigshospitalet, Center for integrated molecular brain imaging (Cimbi), and NeuroPharm. Her research line aims at uncovering neurobiological correlates to vulnerability for developing neuropsychiatric disease, which ideally hold a preventive potential. She works primarily with molecular imaging of serotonergic neurotransmission in the context of steroid hormone biology, and genetic and personality risk factors for neuropsychiatric disease.

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Music by:

Me Llamo Speedos

With roots in jazz, Ethiojazz, surf, hip hop and folk, these 5 instruments mix
elements from all of these to a jazz form that seeks moods and style from both the 60s
soul jazz and the future. With two saxophones, two drummers, Hammond organ, electric piano
and synthesizer, the sound becomes contemporary with undertones of the jazz tradition of the past.

Sax: Søren Siegumfeldt (DMA Jazz vinder for Bedste Udgivelse 2019); Sax: Søren Skov (Debre Damo Dining Orchestra); Trommer: David Besiakov (Vært i Ugens Jazz Dj på P8 Jazz); Trommer: Rune Kofoed (Afenginn, Nairobi Auto Service); Hammond: Nikolaj Aage Høi (The Orgelheimers, Nairobi Auto Service)

Me Llamo Speedos 01
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