Be­hind the sci­ence

The key find­ings from Stephanie’s ground­break­ing re­search

The Sunday Telegraph (Sydney) - Body and Soul - - HEALTH -

LEP­TIN TRIG­GERS AN IN­CREASE IN BLOOD PRES­SURE

Obese men and women have high lev­els of the hor­mone lep­tin, which is pro­duced by fat cells. When ex­cess lep­tin reaches the brain, it can cause a rise in blood pres­sure and heart rate, and can lead to heart disease.

PRE MENOPAUSE, OE­STRO­GEN BLOCKS LEP­TIN

Be­fore women hit menopause, they de­velop heart disease at a much slower rate than men tend to. This is be­cause, prior to menopause, oe­stro­gen pro­tects obese women from the blood pres­sure-rais­ing ef­fects of lep­tin.

OE­STRO­GEN’S PRO­TEC­TION DROPS AT MENOPAUSE

When women go through menopause, their oe­stro­gen stores drop sig­nif­i­cantly, yet their lep­tin lev­els ei­ther stay the same or in­crease. They’re no longer pro­tected, so obese women are more likely to de­velop heart disease.

HOPE­FULLY A NEW TREAT­MENT IS COM­ING SOON

Once Stephanie and her team de­ter­mine how oe­stro­gen and lep­tin in­ter­act in the brain, they hope to de­velop a tablet that can of­fer the same pro­tec­tive ef­fects as oe­stro­gen for obese women and men liv­ing with heart disease.

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