wmhrp subcat Menopause

For the past 20 years, Dr. Pauline Maki has led a program of NIH-funded research on cognition and brain function in aging women. This program examines the role of menopause, vasomotor symptoms (VMS), and hormonal fluctuations on neuropsychological test performance and functional and structural neuroimaging outcomes.

In the past decade, our understanding of the role of menopause stage and menopausal symptoms on cognitive function has greatly expanded. There is now increasing evidence from large-scale prospective studies that women both report increased memory complaints and perform worse on memory tests during the menopausal transition. Dr. Maki’s work demonstrates a significant relationship between subjective memory complaints and objective memory declines, and also shows considerable individual differences in this relationship, with some women reporting few memory complaints and performing well on memory tests, and others having significant complaints and significant impairment. Dr. Maki’s work has contributed to the understanding of the factors underlying these changes in memory. Although there is strong evidence that the vasomotor symptoms (VMS) women report are unrelated to memory performance, Dr. Maki and collaborators discovered that physiologic VMS, as measured with ambulatory skin conductance monitors, bear a strong relationship with memory performance. Women under-report physiological hot flashes by about 45%, so measuring physiologic VMS with monitors appears to be critical in unmasking the relationship between VMS and memory.


The Science of Thermoregulation and Vasomotor Symptoms: Possible New Targets for Treatment
PI: Pauline Maki, PhD
The purpose of this 2-day conference was to bring together diverse key researchers and menopause clinicians to review recent scientific advances in our understanding of 1) the mechanisms underlying hot flashes and night sweats; 2) the efficacy of nonhormonal treatments for these symptoms. This study was funded by the National Institute on Aging (NIA) from 2014-2016 (R13 AG048700-01).


Effects of Estradiol and Phytoestrogens on Stress Responsivity
PI: Pauline Maki, PhD
This study was a randomized, placebo-controlled trial comparing estradiol and soy supplements to placebo for the treatment of daily anxiety, stress responsivity, objective hot flashes, and cognition in perimenopausal women. This study was funded by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) from 2009-2015 (R01 MH083782).


Botanical Menopausal Therapies Mechanisms of CNS Action
PI: Pauline Maki, PhD
This Career Award grant examined the mechanisms by which phytoestrogens and botanical therapies for menopausal symptoms affect CNS function. This study was funded by the National Center for Complementary & Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) from 2004-2009 (K01 AT002321).


Effects of Botanicals on Cognition in Midlife Women
PI: Pauline Maki, PhD
The goal of this study was to compare the effects of standard hormone therapy, Trifolium pratense and Cimicifuga racemosa on brain function in midlife women. This study was funded by the National Center for Complementary & Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) from 2004-2006 (R21 AT001868).


The Center for Dietary Supplemental Research - Botanical Dietary Supplements for Women’s Health
PI: Norman Farnsworth, PhD
Co-I: Pauline Maki, PhD
The initial efforts of this study were to investigate the clinical safety and efficacy of botanicals used to treat women's health with particular emphasis on therapies for menopause. Additional studies addressed mechanisms of action, identification of active compounds, and characterization of metabolism, bioavailability and pharmacokinetics of active species contained in these botanicals.This study was funded by the National Center for Complementary & Alternative Medicine (NCCAM) from 1999-2004 (P50 AT000155).


Effects of Sex Steroid Hormones on Cognition and Brain Function
PI: Pauline Maki, PhD
The goal of this project was to gain insight into the effects of sex steroid hormones on cognitive function involving three primary lines of research: 1) sex differences in cognitive function; 2) changes in cognition in relation to natural fluctuations in endogenous hormones; and 3) changes in cognition associated with exogenous hormone intervention. This study was funded by the National Institute on Aging (NIA) from 2001-2002 (Z01 AG000192-02).

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