DESCRIPTION (provided by the applicant): Establishing a Specialized Center of Research on Sex Differences (SCOR) at Mayo Clinic is consistent with Mayo's strategic plan for research to best serve every patient, every day, through personalized medicine. Sex differences research is integral to personalized medicine. Cardiovascular disease and cognitive decline are two related conditions disproportionately affecting men and women across their lifespan with distinct differences in manifestations, responses to treatments, morbidity, and mortality. The overarching theme of this interdisciplinary SCOR is to understand how female-specific conditions associated with major hormonal shifts, hypertensive pregnancy disorders, and menopausal estrogen deficiency or menopausal hormone therapy affect cerebrovascular function and cognition in women. Three individual but interrelated projects will investigate the overarching theme. Project I will test the hypothesis that a history of hypertensive pregnancy disorders is a risk factor for all-cause and cardiovascular mortality, future cardiovascular disease, and cognitive impairment by using a population-based approach. Cohorts selected from the Rochester Epidemiology Project (REP) will be evaluated prospectively for cerebrovascular responses and cognitive function. Project II will investigate the neuroprotective effects of estrogen treatment on imaging markers of cognitive health and cognitive performance in women who were treated with estrogens compared with placebo during early menopause. Early menopause is considered the window of opportunity for estrogen treatment. This project leverages the cohort of the ongoing Kronos Early Estrogen Prevention Study (KEEPS). Project III, using cohorts defined in Projects I and II, will define cerebral microvascular dilator capacit, characterize the thrombotic potential of blood-borne microvesicles and platelets, and define relationships among those characteristics with cerebral microvascular vasodilator capacity and changes in brain structure and cognition. An administrative core will support operations and quality control, and a clinical analytical core will provide standardized subject recruitment, data management, and analysis for all three projects. The SCOR is highly responsive to the RFA because it addresses specific sex differences underpinning diseases affecting persons through life transitions, it integrates clinical and basic research, and it uses unique resources at Mayo Clinic. This project involves novel technical approaches of imaging and blood-soluble markers to mechanistically approach disease processes. Furthermore, the defined infrastructure and cohorts will provide the basis for future research on sex differences. Viewing research and medical delivery through a sex-based lens, with attention to an individual's sex chromosomal complement and hormonal status, is fundamental to personalized care. The SCOR on Sex Differences at Mayo Clinic will facilitate incorporation of sex determinants of health, disease, and treatments across the research and clinical enterprise. In addition, the SCOR investigators will disseminate sex-differences research for specific and general national and international audiences. DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): Cardiovascular disease and cognitive decline are two related conditions disproportionately affecting men and women across their lifespan. This interdisciplinary program will utilize innovative tools imaging and diagnostic techniques to understand how changes in blood supply to the brain affect cognition in women who have experienced a hypertensive pregnancy event, preeclampsia, and menopause. These studies will identify which women might benefit from early treatments to sustain cognitive health across their life transitions.
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