Premature Ovarian Failure (POF) (cont.)
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What are researchers doing to learn more about premature ovarian failure?
Currently, the NICHD is conducting and sponsoring a number of studies on premature ovarian failure:
Some researchers are exploring whether a low dose of a certain steroids can treat premature ovarian failure in cases caused by an autoimmune disorder. The steroid, called prednisone, decreases the function of the body's immune system, which is thought to be attacking the ovary follicles in some women with premature ovarian failure.
Researchers are trying to determine the best combination and dosage of HRT for treating premature ovarian failure. Some work is trying to learn whether adding testosterone to a woman's HRT can help to prevent bone loss. Other studies are trying to find the amount of estrogen and progestin that best treats premature ovarian failure without causing too many side effects.
Other research focuses on what happens in an ovary that is working normally. This information may help scientists develop a test for early detection of premature ovarian failure.
Clinical trials to explore these topics are underway. To find out more about these studies, contact the NICHD's Unit on Gynecologic Endocrinology, at 1-877-206-0911. You can also learn more about all studies on premature ovarian failure by going to http://clinicaltrials.gov, and doing a search for "premature ovarian failure." Or, you can call the NIH Patient Recruitment and Public Liaison Office at 1-800-411-1222.
In addition to these studies, the NICHD has a Reproductive Medicine Gynecology Program in its Reproductive Sciences Branch that supports research on women's health conditions that aren't cancerous, including premature ovarian failure. In 1998, the NICHD joined other Institutes at the NIH in setting up 12 Women's Reproductive Health Research Career Development Centers. These Centers support obstetricians and gynecologists in becoming researchers, so that they can study topics on women's health. Eight additional Centers, started in 1999, will allow this vital research to continue until scientists know the causes and treatments for premature ovarian failure and other reproductive diseases.
The NICHD's Reproductive Sciences Branch also has other programs that support research on premature ovarian failure, and on other topics that affect women's health. The Specialized Cooperative Centers Program in Reproductive Research (SCCPRR), established in the late 1990s, relies on multidisciplinary approaches to research on reproductive health topics. SCCPRR has a number of basic, translational, and clinical scientific studies in progress at 14 sites around the country that are aimed at finding the cause of premature ovarian failure, including genetics and the factors that cause follicle depletion and dysfunction.
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