Sex, Cycle and Contraceptive Phase on Endothelial Function

Is brachial artery endothelial function in healthy premenopausal women negatively impacted by longer term use of oral contraceptive pills? Listen as Guest Editor Milton H. Hamblin (Tulane University School of Medicine) interviews lead author Maureen MacDonald (McMaster University) and content expert Daniel Credeur (University of Southern Mississippi) about the novel work by Shenouda et al, which was inspired by a lack of information in the scientific literature about controlling for contraceptive pill use and menstrual cycle when assessing endothelial function in healthy humans. There are estimates that over 67 million women worldwide are using oral contraceptive pills, yet the effect of this medication on vascular endothelial and smooth muscle physiology is dramatically understudied. Does brachial artery flow mediated dilation change across the menstrual cycle in healthy women? How do these results compare to men? Listen, read, and find out.

 

Ninette Shenouda, Stacey E. Priest, Vanessa I. Rizzuto, and Maureen J. MacDonald Brachial artery endothelial function is stable across a menstrual and oral contraceptive pill cycle, but lower in premenopausal women than age-matched men Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol, published May 4, 2018. DOI: 10.1152/ajpheart.00102.2018

Preclinical Echocardiography: Training and Guidelines

Given the current conversations around rigor and reproducibility, and the need to reinforce scientific research to the public, our latest podcast is particularly timely. Deputy Editor Merry Lindsey (University of Mississippi Medical Center) interviews lead author Daniel Donner (Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute) and content expert Lisandra de Castro Bras (East Carolina University) about the unique study by Donner and colleagues focused on standardizing the quality of echocardiography in mice at Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute, Melbourne, Australia. Listen as we address the importance of consistent training for echocardiography readers on the analysis of echocardiographic images. Did Donner and co-authors find that implementing a short, formal preclinical echo training program at Baker Heart and Diabetes was as onerous as they originally anticipated? Power analysis in the study by Donner et al revealed that sample sizes needed to detect differences were reduced more than 50% after training. What are the implications of reductions in sample size on improving methodology, reducing animal numbers, and reducing research costs? Listen now.

 

Daniel G. Donner, Helen Kiriazis, Xiao-Jun Du, Thomas H. Marwick, and Julie R. McMullen Improving the quality of preclinical research echocardiography: Observations, training and guidelines for measurement Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol, published online April 20, 2018 DOI: 10.1152/ajpheart.00157.2018