A new study led by Laura Torchen, MD, endocrinologist at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, seeks to identify early signs of PCOS in girls at risk, as the first step toward developing earlier treatment or prevention approaches. Girls who are 11-16 years old and within two years of starting their periods are invited to participate.
What is PCOS? It is a common disorder that affects up to one in 10 women of reproductive age. These women may have irregular periods, excessive acne and hair growth on the face or body. Girls who struggle with weight or whose mothers have PCOS might be at higher risk for developing the condition.
“Currently we can’t diagnose PCOS until two to three years after the girl’s first period,” says Dr. Torchen. “But studies in high risk girls suggest that PCOS may begin earlier. With our study we hope to establish early clinical and genetic signs of PCOS so that we can diagnose and treat it sooner, possibly even before girls have symptoms. Learning more about what causes PCOS might also help us discover ways to prevent it.”
Girls who participate in the study may have a variety of tests during two visits to the clinical research unit at Lurie Children’s – testing for diabetes, testing to measure hormones made by the ovaries, MRI study of the size and appearance of the ovaries, and DNA testing to examine changes in the genes related to PCOS. Participants will receive a gift card up to $150, depending on how many tests they want to do.
“Participating girls can agree to do just some or all the tests in our study,” says Dr. Torchen. “During the first study visit, which can last up to nine hours, girls will have their own room where they can watch TV, play video games, read or do homework. Lunch will be provided. The second visit will be short, about 30 minutes, and we might schedule an MRI on the same day.”
Participants will be contacted one to two years later to see if they want to return for follow-up, to determine if they have PCOS at that time.
“We are grateful to girls who participate in our study and help us detect and treat PCOS earlier,” says Dr. Torchen. “This is important because PCOS is the leading risk factor for type 2 diabetes in women and is the most common cause of infertility due to ovulation problems. We hope the study will help improve health outcomes for young women with PCOS.”
For more information, please contact Sarayu Ratnam, Clinical Research Coordinator, at 312.227.6617 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Research at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago is conducted through the Stanley Manne Children’s Research Institute. The Manne Research Institute is focused on improving child health, transforming pediatric medicine and ensuring healthier futures through the relentless pursuit of knowledge. Lurie Children’s is ranked as one of the nation’s top children’s hospitals in the U.S.News & World Report. It is the pediatric training ground for Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. Last year, the hospital served more than 212,000 children from 49 states and 51 countries.
This study is Lurie Children’s IRB #2017-704, A Prospective Study of Biochemical and Genetic Predictors of PCOS in High Risk Early Postmenarchal Girls, Dr. Laura Torchen. The content of this blog has been approved by Lurie Children’s IRB.