The structure and function of the brain is influenced by the context of people’s lives, especially sex and gender. These influences include hormones and genes, as well as culture, social environment and personal life experiences. In turn, these factors can influence our health and successful aging.
We are studying cognition in women who no longer make an important estrogen: 17-beta estradiol. We are doing this in young women who carry the BRCA gene mutation which is linked to a higher risk of inherited breast and ovarian cancer. Women who carry one of these genes may choose to have preventive removal of the fallopian tubes and ovaries to reduce their cancer risk. This is called a Bilateral Salpingo-Oophorectomy (BSO).
The purpose of this study is to understand the effects of ovarian removal on cognition (thinking, attention and memory) from one-year to 10-years post-surgery. Specifically, we want to determine how estrogen withdrawal over time affects young-middle aged women. It is critically important for the brain health of all women to understand the affects of estrogens or estrogen withdrawal on cognition and memory.
Information gained from this study will be useful for women who are considering having preventive surgery in the future, as well as for women who have already elected to have this procedure. We aim for the results of this study to spur innovation in therapeutics and in methods for imaging the ovaries.
We are currently recruiting study participants who meet these criteria:
- Woman between the ages of 30 and 56
- Able to speak English and understand neuropsychological tests administered in English.
- A confirmed carrier of either the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation
- Have had ovaries surgically removed prior to natural menopause
For information about participating, please contact our study coordinator, Laurice Karkaby, at 416-978-6582 or firstname.lastname@example.org.