A 2018/2019 Summer Studentship research project
This project will document the transition to menopause in a contemporary New Zealand birth cohort. The results from the study will be able to be generalised to 40 year old New Zealand women who are currently transitioning to natural perimenopause and menopause. The results of this project will provide an improved understanding of predictors of early natural menopause and problems associated with menopause and implications for women’s health care, relationships, and employment.
Student: Jacqui-Lyn Welch
Supervisors: Dr Geraldine McLeod, Associate Professor Joseph Boden (Deputy Director, Christchurch Health and Development Study)
A student with an interest in female reproductive health and menopause, or in longitudinal studies.
How to apply
Contact the first supervisor, Dr Geraldine McLeod, to express your interest:
Transition to menopause marks the end of a woman’s fertility, typically occurring between 45-55 years of age. Menopause can cause significant distress and discomfort, and is associated with mood, cognition and sleep difficulties. These adversities have important potential implications for women, their partners and society. Very few contemporary well-designed studies exist which document the transition to menopause, particularly in a New Zealand context. While previous research from older cohorts examined menopause, we cannot assume that the transition to menopause is the same for women now, as it was for women of previous generations.
This project occurs in the context of the Christchurch Health and Development Study (CHDS) 40 year assessment. The CHDS is a longitudinal study that has prospectively followed a birth cohort of 630 female participants born in 1977. Since birth, participants have had regular assessments using a broad range of health-related and psychosocial measures. Now that the cohort members are aged 40, the CHDS has an opportunity to conduct a rigorous baseline examination of the transition to menopause among their female cohort members to aid the understanding of the natural transition to menopause, and related issues. As part of this project, it is important to collect medical records of the cohort members to limit recall bias.
The aim of this project is to gather baseline medical information data of female CHDS cohort members as a supplement to the information supplied by those cohort members at the 40 year assessment interview.
The cohort members, whose health information we aim to collect, will have already had their face-to-face 40 year assessment interview. Permission to access their medical records will be gained through signed participant consent. It is expected that this medical information will be gathered from a variety of sources including: GP/medical practitioner records; HealthConnect for South Island based women, or other relevant primary care clinical networks. The information required includes most recent (non-pregnant) blood pressure information, hormone blood test results, and any gynaecological intervention or surgeries the cohort members have had.
Student researcher’s component of the study
The student researcher’s contribution to the project will be to aid the collection of baseline data through the gathering the CHDS female cohort members’ health data from their GP/medical practitioner records; HealthConnect for South Island based women, or other relevant primary care clinical networks. The student would be required to contact the relevant outlet and to collect and collate the required information. Collected information will be added to the 40 year interview data; it is envisaged that the student will be able to prepare and present some of the baseline project results.