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LSU's Pennington Biomedical Launches New Study Aimed at Understanding Genes Involved in Common Hormonal Disorder Affecting Women

Released: Monday, May 22, 2017

Baton Rouge, LA – A new study at LSU's Pennington Biomedical Research Center is looking to identify genes that increase the likelihood of a woman developing Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS).

PCOS is a hormonal disorder which prevents many women from getting pregnant. It affects one in 12 women worldwide (15 percent of reproductive age women) and is the most common reason many women have trouble getting pregnant.

PCOS can cause irregular menstrual cycles, weight gain and is a risk factor for type 2 diabetes.

Through the new Gene Mapping of PCOS study researchers are examining which specific genes, among women of different races, lead to this disorder.

"Mapping the genes that increase the likelihood a woman could develop PCOS could help many families who suffer from this condition, which affects not only fertility but metabolic health as well," said Dr. Leanne Redman, LPFA Endowed Fellow and associate professor, who is leading Pennington Biomedical's work on the study.

"We know that PCOS runs in families, so genes play an important role. We also know that the number of women affected differs by ethnic groups," added Redman. "So by studying the genes of large groups of women from diverse ethnic backgrounds, this research study hopes to identify the specific genes that increase PCOS risk, so we can better understand how the disorder develops. This information could lead to new treatments for PCOS."

The study is being conducted in collaboration with internationally-renowned PCOS physician scientist, Dr. Andrea Dunaif, of the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and Dr. Geoffrey Hayes of Northwestern University. The Pennington Biomedical portion of the study is focused on African American women.

Pennington Biomedical is seeking 300 women of African American heritage to participate. Women should be between the ages of 18-40, have been diagnosed with PCOS and not taking any medications.

For more information on this gene mapping research study or other maternal and infant health studies, please visit www.pbrc.edu/healthierLA or call 225-763-3000.

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The Pennington Biomedical Research Center is at the forefront of medical discovery as it relates to understanding the triggers of obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer and dementia. It is a campus of Louisiana State University and conducts basic, clinical and population research. The research enterprise at Pennington Biomedical includes approximately 80 faculty and more than 25 post-doctoral fellows who comprise a network of 44 laboratories supported by lab technicians, nurses, dietitians, and support personnel, and 13 highly specialized core service facilities. Pennington Biomedical’s more than 500 employees perform research activities in state-of-the-art facilities on the 222-acre campus located in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.