Sex differences, estrogen and cerebral ischemia
Stroke disproportionately kills more women than men and a woman’s risk and severity for stroke increases exponentially following the onset of menopause. Menopause is an inevitable event in a woman's life and is demarcated by increase in circulating follicle stimulating hormone and decrease of ovarian hormone estrogen. Estrogen regulates multiple brain functions and is a potent neuroprotective agent. Our research aims to understand the mechanisms by which estrogen provides ischemic neuroprotection and is responsible for sex differences in ischemic pathophysiology.
Smoking tobacco, nicotine and cerebral ischemia
Women who smoke cigarettes while using oral contraceptives (OC) increase their risk for and severity of stroke compared to nonsmoking women who use OC. In recent years traditional cigarette users are switching to electronic nicotine delivery systems (e-Cig). Nicotine is the common addictive and toxic ingredient in traditional and e-Cig. Our research aims to investigate mechanisms by which combination of nicotine and OC exacerbates the severity of ischemic episodes in females and the impact of smoking cessation on brain.
Cognition and cerebral ischemia
Mild cognitive impairment and frailty are two of the most common conditions affecting women undergoing menopause. Studies emphasize the emerging concept that improvement in cognitive and physical impairments could be predictive of each other. Even a mild ischemic episode can result in a menopausal woman becoming frail and cognitively impaired. Our research aims to test the efficacy of physical exercise or whole body vibration interventions to enhance recovery and ameliorate cognitive deficits after stroke.