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Continuation of the Transitions to Menopause Project 

A 2019/2020 Summer Studentship research project

Overall, 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: Associate Professor Joseph Boden, Dr Geri McLeod
Sponsor: University of Otago, Christchurch – Department of Psychological Medicine

Introduction

This project is a continuation of the 2018/2019 SSP. Transition to menopause marks the end of a woman’s fertility, typically occurring between 45-55 years of age. Very few contemporary well-designed studies exist which document the transition to menopause, particularly in a New Zealand context.

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.

Following the 40 year assessment, the CHDS initiated collection of female cohort members’ medical records to reduce the limitations imposed by self-report. This process was begun with a 2018/2019 summer student. The student collected the data from a number of DHB’s (including Canterbury), however we still have a number of DHB’s to gather data from. For their project, the student also analysed and presented the CHDS self-reported 40 year assessment data. For this she won the Best Community Presentation.

Aim

The aim of this project is to finish gathering 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. This information will then be used to write peer reviewed journal articles.

Method

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 has been gained through signed participant consent. It is expected that this medical information will be gathered from the cohort member’s local DHB. 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. Once the information has been collected the student, it will need to be read into SAS and managed to ready it for statistical analysis. The student will analyse and present findings from the gathered information.

Student researcher’s component of the study

The student’s contribution to the project will be to aid the collection of baseline medical data through the gathering the CHDS female cohort members’ health data from their local DHB. The student will be required to help the research team apply for locality agreements (where necessary) with DHB’s we do not yet have data from. The student will need to read the data extracts received from the DHB’s into SAS, manage the data and then perform statistical analyses.

Student Prerequisites

Data management and statistical analysis skills, using SAS

How to apply

Email joseph.boden@otago.ac.nz