This article is from the archives of the UB Reporter.

People etc.

Published: June 2, 2005

UB recruits women for study related to fertility

UB researchers are recruiting women between the ages of 18 and 44 for the first comprehensive study of the relationship between menstrual-cycle hormonal changes and levels of toxic and potentially damaging free radical oxygen molecules, which may be one factor associated with infertility.

The new study is being funded by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, National Institutes of Health.

Participants who meet the study guidelines and agree to take part will be involved for 2.5 months and receive monetary compensation.

Women interested in being considered for the study may call 829-2975, ext. 3128.

Free radicals are oxygen molecules produced during metabolism. If they are not neutralized by antioxidants such as vitamins A, C and E in the diet, free radicals can damage tissues, resulting in what is known as oxidative stress.

Research in humans and animals has suggested that oxidative stress may be implicated in infertility in both males and females, said Jean Wactawski-Wende, associate professor of social and preventive medicine in the School of Public Health and Health Professions, and principal investigator on the study.

Researchers will take samples of blood and urine from study participants at eight key points during two consecutive menstrual cycles. The samples will be analyzed for changes in several indicators of oxidative stress at the times of greatest hormonal variation. The relationship between levels of estrogen and progesterone, and measures of oxidative stress at those key points also will be analyzed.

"We think oxidative stress may influence female fertility by impacting the growth of egg follicles in the ovary, by its role in the development of endometriosis and its possible regulation of blood vessel formation in the endometrium," said Wactawski-Wende. "These potential mechanisms are not well understood, however.

"We also know very little about how oxidative stress is influenced by both circulating hormones and by antioxidant intake, and how hormone and antioxidant levels may be associated with reduced oxidative stress levels, and perhaps, a reduced risk of infertility," she said.

"Researchers have been hindered by the lack of information on the interrelationship of antioxidants, oxidative-stress levels and hormonal changes during the menstrual cycle. Our study will be the first to provide that information."

Bequest gift to endow nursing research

A bequest gift by the late Helen E. Popa, an alumna of the School of Nursing, will support the work of the school's Center for Nursing Research through the Helen E. Popa Nursing Research Fund.

Popa, who earned a certificate and bachelor's degree in 1940 and 1950, respectively, included the school in her will with a bequest gift of $177,560. Her gift honors the memory of Anne Walker Sengbusch, the school's first dean.

Popa was the older of two daughters of immigrant parents from Romania. As a young woman growing up during the Depression, she left her native Youngstown, Ohio, and hitchhiked to Buffalo, where she responded to an article indicating she could enroll in the Meyer Memorial Hospital School of Nursing program for $75 for the three-year certificate program.

Popa, who died in 2004, spent most of her career in nursing management at St. Elizabeth's Hospital in Youngstown. Before her move back to her hometown, she worked in public health nursing in Buffalo for seven years and was hired by Sengbusch to teach a class on the history of nursing. Popa credited the dean's encouragement as critical in completing her B.S. degree in 1950.

"This endowed fund will allow the School of Nursing to continue its research efforts, ultimately improving the lives of patients," said Mecca Cranley, dean of the nursing school. "Helen cared deeply about nursing scholarship. Her generous gift will provide vital support for our Center for Nursing Research."

The School of Nursing began in the 1930s as a division of the School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, and became an independent unit within the university in 1940. Nearly 6,000 alumni have graduated from the school's programs, which span the academic spectrum from the baccalaureate through the doctoral degree.