Pelvic Floor Symptoms May Lead To Exercise Avoidance in Menopausal Women

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr. Eija K. Laakkonen PhD Assistant professor Gerontology Research Center Faculty of Sport and Health Sciences University of Jyväskylä

Dr. Laakkonen

Dr. Eija K. Laakkonen PhD
Assistant professor
Gerontology Research Center
Faculty of Sport and Health Sciences
University of Jyväskylä

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Physical activity improves health and may delay the onset of chronic diseases. For women in particular, the rate of some chronic diseases accelerates at middle age around the time of menopause; therefore it is important to identify the determinants of health-enhancing physical activity during midlife in this population.

The main aim of this study was to characterize the level of physical activity and to examine the association between different female reproductive factors and objectively-measured physical activity in middle-aged women. The reproductive factors included cumulative reproductive history index, and perceived menopausal and pelvic floor dysfunction symptoms.

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Paracardial Fat Linked To Postmenopausal Coronary Artery Calcification

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Samar R. El Khoudary, Ph.D., M.P.H. Assistant professor Department of Epidemiology University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health

Dr. El Khoudary,

Samar R. El Khoudary, Ph.D., M.P.H.
Assistant professor
Department of Epidemiology
University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Our study revealed a previously unknown, menopause-specific indicator of heart disease risk. For the first time, we’ve pinpointed the type of heart fat, linked it to a risk factor for heart disease and shown that menopausal status and estrogen levels are critical modifying factors of its associated risk in women.

My team evaluated clinical data, including blood samples and heart CT scans, on 478 women from Pittsburgh and Chicago enrolled in the Study of Women’s Health Across the Nation (SWAN). The women were in varying stages of menopause, averaged 51 years old and were not on hormone replacement therapy.

In a previous study, we showed that a greater volume of paracardial fat, but not epicardial fat, after menopause is associated with a decline in the sex hormone estradiol—the most potent estrogen—in women. The higher volume of epicardial fat was tied to other risk factors, such as obesity.

In the new study, we built on those findings to discover that not only is a greater paracardial fat volume specific to menopause, but—in postmenopausal women and women with lower levels of estradiol—it’s also associated with a greater risk of coronary artery calcification, an early sign of heart disease that is measured with a heart CT scan.

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Increased Risk of Heart Disease in Postmenopausal Women With History of Weight Cycling

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Somwail Rasla, MD Internal Medicine Resident Memorial Hospital of Rhode Island Brown University

Dr. Somwail Rasla

Somwail Rasla, MD
Internal Medicine Resident
Memorial Hospital of Rhode Island
Brown University

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Weight cycling has been studied as a possible risk factors for all-cause mortality and was found to be insignificant in some studies and significant in other studies when adjusted to age and timing of when the weight cycling occurred. It was proposed that weight cycling may increase risk of chronic inflammation by which weight cycling was considered to be a risk factor for increased morbidity and all cause mortalities. Other studies have reported that frequent weight cycling was associated with shorter telomere length, which is a risk factor for several comorbidities including CHD. Earlier studies showed that weight cycling has an association with increase in size of adipocytes as well as fluctuation of serum cholesterol, triglycerides, glucose, insulin, and glucagon which may contribute to the increased incidence of diabetes. Alternatively, in the nurses’ health study , weight cycling was not predictive of cardiovascular or total mortality.

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Menopausal Hormone Therapy Benefits Bone Health For Several Years After Discontinuation

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Dr Georgios Papadakis FMH, Médecin InternenMédecin assistant Service d'endocrinologie, diabétologie et métabolisme Lausanne

Dr Georgios Papadakis

Dr Georgios Papadakis
FMH, Médecin InternenMédecin assistant
Service d’endocrinologie, diabétologie et métabolisme
Lausanne

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: This study was mainly motivated by the absence of available data on the effect of menopausal hormone therapy (MHT) on bone microarchitecture, as well as contradictory results of previous trials regarding the persistence of a residual effect after MHT withdrawal.

We performed a cross-sectional analysis of 1279 postmenopausal women aged 50-80 years participating in OsteoLaus cohort of Lausanne University Hospital. Participants had bone mineral density (BMD) measurement by dual X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) at lumbar spine, femoral neck and total hip, as well as assessment of trabecular bone score (TBS), a textural index that evaluates pixel grey-level variations in the lumbar spine DXA image, providing an indirect index of trabecular microarchitecture.

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Menopause Has Variable Effect on Memory Decline in Women

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Jill M. Goldstein, Ph.D.

Director of Research for the Connors Center for Women’s Health and Gender Biology
Brigham and Women’s Hospital and
Professor of Psychiatry and Medicine at Harvard Medical School

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Maintaining intact memory function as we age is one of the primary public health challenges of our time. In fact, women are at almost twice the risk for Alzheimer’s disease and it is not only because women live longer. Thus, it is incumbent upon us to understand this sex difference and incorporate the knowledge into the development of sex-dependent therapeutics.

Our study focused on beginning this investigation by understanding how memory circuitry and memory function change over the menopausal transition, when we believe that sex differences in memory aging emerge. By understanding healthy aging, we will better understand how the brain goes awry with age differently in men and women and who might be at highest risk for Alzheimer’s disease later in life.

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Clinical Practice Guidelines For Diagnosis and Treatment of Postmenopausal Osteoporosis

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Pauline Camacho, MD, FACE Professor, Endocrinology Director, Loyola University Osteoporosis and Metabolic Bone Disease Center, Fellowship Program Director, Endocrinology, Medical Director, Osteoporosis Center

Dr. Pauline Camacho

Pauline Camacho, MD, FACE
Professor, Endocrinology
Director, Loyola University Osteoporosis and Metabolic Bone Disease Center, Fellowship Program Director, Endocrinology, Medical Director, Osteoporosis Center

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this report? What is the prevalence and significance of osteoporosis in US women?

Response: Osteoporosis is widely prevalent and is increasing in prevalence not only in the US but also around the world. 10.2 million Americans have osteoporosis and that an additional 43.4 million have low bone mass. More than 2 million osteoporosis-related fractures occur annually in the US, more than 70% of these occur in women ( from National Osteoporosis Foundation (NOF) estimates).

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Gene Variants Linked With Increased Risk of Hot Flashes in Menopause

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Carolyn J. Crandall, MD, MS, FACP Professor of Medicine David Geffen School of Medicine at University of California, Los Angeles UCLA Medicine/GIM Los Angeles, California

Dr. Carolyn Crandall

Carolyn J. Crandall, MD, MS, FACP
Professor of Medicine
David Geffen School of Medicine at University of California, Los Angeles
UCLA Medicine/GIM
Los Angeles, California

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Scientists have suspected that genes may contribute to the risk of getting hot flashes and night sweats, but studies so far have been few in number and only focused on small parts of the human gene code (for example, the gene coding for estrogen receptors). No study has ever comprehensively sampled gene variations that span the entire human genome to look for associations between genetic variation and risk of hot flashes and night sweats.

This was the first study of its kind, performed in more than 17.000 postmenopausal women participating in the Women’s Health Initiative Study. We examined 11,078,977 single-nucleotide polymorphisms, or SNPs, which are gene variants, in a genome-wide association study.

Our main results were that 14 gene variants (SNPs) that were significantly associated with increased risk of having hot flashes. All of these variants were located in chromosome 4, in the gene that codes for the tachykinin receptor 3.

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Nighttime Hot Flashes With Sleep Disruption Linked To Depressive Symptoms During Menopause

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Hadine Joffe, MD, MSc Associate Professor of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School Vice Chair for Psychiatry Research Director of Division of Women's Mental Health / Dept of Psychiatry / Brigham and Women’s Hospital Director of Psycho-Oncology Research / Dept of Psychosocial Oncology and Palliative Care /Dana Farber Cancer Institute www.brighamwharp.org

Dr. Hadine Joffe

Hadine Joffe, MD, MSc
Associate Professor of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School
Vice Chair for Psychiatry Research
Director of Division of Women’s Mental Health / Dept of Psychiatry / Brigham and Women’s Hospital
Director of Psycho-Oncology Research / Dept of Psychosocial Oncology and Palliative Care /Dana Farber Cancer Institute
www.brighamwharp.org

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: We conducted this study to advance our understanding about causes of mood disturbance in the menopause transition that are specifically related to menopause. We used an experimental model to dissect out the contributions of hot flashes and sleep disturbance from contribution of changing levels of estrogen because hot flashes, sleep problems, and estrogen fluctuations co-occur and are difficult to distinguish from one another. Understanding whether hot flashes and/or sleep disturbance are causally related to mood disturbance will help us identify who is at risk for mood changes during the menopause transition. This is incredibly important now that we are finding effective non-hormonal treatments for hot flashes and sleep disruption.

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Early Menopause Linked To Increased Risk of Heart Disease and Carotid Atherosclerosis

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Taulant Muka, MD, MPH, PhD
Postdoctoral Researcher
Erasmus University, Rotterdam

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Menopause marks a major life transition for women, resulting in the loss of ovarian follicle development. Although menopause is a universal phenomenon among women, the timing of the final menstrual period differ greatly between women, and is considered a marker of aging. By quantifying data of nearly 310,329 non-overlapping women, we found that women who experienced an early menopause (i.e. younger than 45 years) have an excess risk of CHD, CVD-mortality and all-cause mortality. Furthermore, being 45-49 years at menopause compared to ≥50 years was associated with increased risk of carotid atherosclerosis.

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Early Hysterectomy With Preserved Ovaries Doubles Risk of Hot Flashes and Night Sweats

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Louise Wilson PhD Candidate The University of Queensland

Louise Wilson

Louise Wilson PhD Candidate
The University of Queensland

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Hysterectomy remains one of the most common gynecological procedures worldwide, with rates highest among women aged between 40 and 50. Between 30 and 40% of women aged in their 40s and 50s experience hot flushes and night sweats (vasomotor symptoms) that can greatly impact upon their overall quality of life. There is consistent evidence that women who have a hysterectomy and both ovaries removed are more likely to report more frequent or severe vasomotor symptoms, probably due to the abrupt decline in estrogen levels post-surgery.

For women who have a hysterectomy with ovaries retained, the evidence is less clear. We wanted to increase our understanding of the symptom experiences of these women. We examined 17 years of data from more than 6,000 women in the Australian Longitudinal Study on Women’s Health. Approximately one in five of the women had a hysterectomy with ovarian conservation before the age of 50.

We found that a third of these women experienced hot flushes that persisted in the long term, and around one in five were afflicted by constant night sweats. These rates were double those of women who did not have a hysterectomy over the 17-year study period, and could not be explained by differences in lifestyle or socio-economic factors.

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Menopause Speeds Up the Aging Process in Women

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Morgan Elyse Levine, PhD Postdoctoral Fellow Department of Human Genetics University of California, Los Angeles

Dr. Levine

Morgan Elyse Levine, PhD
Postdoctoral Fellow
Department of Human Genetics
University of California, Los Angeles

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: From an evolutionary perspective, aging and reproduction are two processes that are linked. For instance, in order to maximize fitness, an individual has to survive and remain healthy enough to:

1) reproduce and

2) insure offspring survive to reproductive age.

Thus, the rate of aging is tied to a species’ timing of reproductive senescence and necessary length of parental involvement. There is also evidence that among humans, women with longer reproductive stages (later age at menopause, ability to conceive at older ages) are more likely to live to age 100, which we hypothesize is because they age slower.

Using an epigenetic biomarker believed to capture biological aging (previously developed by the Principle Investigator of this study, Steve Horvath), we tested whether age at menopause, surgical menopause, and use of menopausal hormone therapies were associated with a woman’s aging rate.

We found that the blood of women who experienced menopause at earlier ages (especially those who underwent surgical menopause) was “older” than expected, suggesting they were aging faster on a biological level than women who experienced menopause at later ages. We also found that buccal epithelium samples (cells that line the inside of the cheek) were epigenetically younger than expected (signifying slower aging) for post-menopausal women who had taken menopausal hormone therapy, compared to post-menopausal women who had never taken any form of menopausal hormone therapy.

Finally, we had a number of results that suggested that the previously mentioned findings were a result of the process of menopause directly speeding up the aging process—rather than the alternative explanation, which would have been that women who aged faster experience menopause earlier.

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Menopausal Hot Flashes Can Start Younger and Last For Years

MedicalResearch.com Interview with:

Rebecca Thurston, Ph.D. Professor in the University of Pittsburgh Department of Psychiatry and Epidemiologist at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health.

Dr. Rebecca Clark-Thurston

Rebecca Thurston, Ph.D.
Professor, University of Pittsburgh Department of Psychiatry and
Epidemiologist, University of Pittsburgh
Graduate School of Public Health

MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Vasomotor symptoms – or hot flashes and night sweats – are the “classic” symptom of the menopause transition. Most women will get vasomotor symptoms, yet there have been striking gaps in our knowledge about them, including what their natural history is. The traditional thinking has been that vasomotor symptoms last a few years around the final menstrual period for most women. However, in this and several other papers we have debunked this myth.

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