The most widely used assessment today is about 50 years old and includes nine body areas: the lip, chin, chest, upper and lower abdomen, upper arm, thigh and upper and lower back. Many women consider this full body check invasive and it can be unwieldy for scientists doing large epidemiologic studies, Azziz said.
For this study, Azziz examined 1,116 female patients at the University of Alabama at Birmingham from 1987-2002 and 835 female patients at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles from 2003-09 with symptoms of androgen excess. Study authors note the method needs further evaluation, including whether it can be used to monitor success of hirsutism treatment.
The hirsutism study is part of Azziz's ongoing research of the problems related to androgen excess and PCOS.
Diagnosis is a complex process that can include a history and physical exam, quantifying hair growth, measuring male hormone levels as well as an oral glucose tolerance test to determine the degree of insulin excess and diabetes risk, said Azziz's collaborator, Dr. Lawrence C. Layman, chief of the GHSU Section of Reproductive Endocrinology, Infertility and Genetics. It also requires ruling out syndromes or disorders with similar symptoms such as non-classic congenital adrenal hyperplasia, which Azziz's team helped differentiate. Current therapies, such as birth control pills to prevent androgen synthesis and the blood pressure medicine, spironolactone, a diuretic that also blocks androgen receptors, treat symptoms rather than causes, the researchers said.
To improve diagnosis and treatment, they along with Azziz's long time colleagues Dr. Yen-Hao Chen, biomedical scientist, and Saleh Heneidi, research associate, are expanding the GHSU Tissue Repository for Androgen-Related Disorders. In the past two decades, Azziz's team has collected more than 50,00
|Contact: Toni Baker|
Georgia Health Sciences University