Behind the science
The key findings from Stephanie’s groundbreaking research
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.