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Female Athlete Study: the female athlete triad is the interrelationship of low energy availability, menstrual dysfunction and decreased bone mineral density. Many young female athletes are afflicted with some aspect of this condition. Up to 69% of women participating in sports involving running activities and other endurance sports experience menstrual dysfunction, as compared to only 2-5% of the general population. A major concern associated with the female athlete triad is low bone mineral density. Decreased bone mineral density has been reported in 22-50% of female athletes as compared to 12% of the normal population. Decreased bone mineral density during adolescence puts these athletes at higher risk for fracture. Therefore, it is imperative to address this serious and widespread issue.
Our research group has made significant progress in investigating this condition within a population of teenage girls and young adult women. In an effort to adapt the treatment model for this disorder, we hope to further elucidate the factors that lead to menstrual dysfunction in some but not all athletes. We are also exploring associations of components of the triad with hormone levels, body composition, and bone structure and strength.
Current research studies are aimed at further investigating:
Bone Health Study: our group has demonstrated that low bone density is prevalent in adolescent girls and boys with anorexia nervosa and is associated with decreased bone turnover. Hormonal alterations that predict low bone density in this disorder include hypogonadism, a nutritionally acquired resistance to growth hormone effects, and high cortisol levels. Weight gain and resumption of menses are associated with some improvement in bone parameters, however, residual deficits persist, raising concerns regarding inadequate catch-up and suboptimal peak bone mass acquisition. Studies exploring possible therapeutic strategies to improve bone density in teenagers with anorexia nervosa are ongoing.The unit is currently investigating the efficacy of IGF-1 on increasing bone density, while also providing supplements proven to help maintain bone density.
Brain Study: Eating disorders are heterogeneous illnesses characterized by aberrant behaviors of extreme dietary restriction, binge eating, and purging. The course often involves adolescent onset, and in more than half of individuals, transition from predominantly restrictive to binge/purge behaviors. The pathophysiology of low- weight eating disorders and mechanisms that underlie restricting vs. binge/purge phenotypes are almost entirely unknown. A critical knowledge gap is the neurobiology underlying the developmental trajectory of these illnesses (e.g. transition from primary restriction to binge eating or purging). Our group is now examining homeostatic and hedonic food motivation pathways using functional MRI in relation to appetite regulating hormones and eating behaviors in girls 10-21 years old with low-weight eating disorder behaviors in order to determine predictors of long-term trajectories of these disorders.
Our group has demonstrated that growth hormone and cortisol status are important determinants of visceral fat and cardiometabolic risk in teenagers with obesity. We are currently evaluating the effect of low dose growth hormone administration on body composition and cardiometabolic risk in obese adolescent girls.
Our group has shown that peripubertal boys with autism spectrum disorder (ASD) have lower bone mineral density than typically developing controls, and that both children and adults with ASD are at a higher risk of fracture than controls. We are now examining long term bone accrual rates in boys with ASD.
For more information, please visit the Pediatric Neuroendocrine website
Study Coordinators and Assistants
Ryan WoolleyPhone: 617-724-6046 Fax: 617-726-8528 E-mail: email@example.com
Shreya TulsianiPhone: 617-643-0266 Fax: 617-726-8528 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Chris MancusoPhone: 617-643-7847 Fax: 617-726-8528 E-mail: email@example.com
The term fMRI stands for functional MRI. This means that the MRI scan is done when the subject is actually doing some tasks (and hence the term functional). This scan helps us visualize the brain when subjects perform some tasks in the scanner. We will be using tasks which will activate areas of the brain involved in depression and anxiety.
The scans take place at the Martinos Center in Charlestown. You can either meet the study coordinator at the center or take a shuttle from the MGH main campus with the coordinator.
Once there you will be asked to change into scrubs and remove all metal before entering the scanner. The study staff will help you into the machine where you will be lying down and looking at a screen. The scan will take about an hour and during the scans you will be responding to behavioral tasks presented on the screen.
After the scans are complete the study staff will help you out of the scanner and you will be asked to answer a few related questionnaires.
Reviews, chapters, monographs and editorials
Clinical Guidelines and Reports
Pediatric Endocrine-Neuroendocrine-Sports Endocrine Research
Meghan Slattery, NPNurse Practitioner617firstname.lastname@example.org
Madhusmita Misra, MDDirector, MGH Pediatric Endocrine-Neuroendocrine-Sports Endocrine Research Lab617email@example.com
For more information, please visit the Pediatric Neuroendocrine website.
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