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Large study shows beneficial role of testosterone to treat menopause

Professor Susan Davis has led a team of researchers who have demonstrated that testosterone supplementation may significantly improve sexual wellbeing in postmenopausal women. Adverse side effects of non-oral formulations were found to be restricted to weight gain and mild cosmetic effects, but more data are needed to assess long-term safety and expert guidelines are urgently needed. The research was recently published in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology.

Testosterone is known as a ‘male’ hormone, but is also an important hormone in women. Levels decline over a woman’s lifespan, and can drop sharply following surgical menopause. However, until now its use in women has been controversial, and testosterone replacement is not approved as a treatment for women partly due to concerns about increasing the risk of heart disease, diabetes and stroke. Previous reviews have suggested that replacement can improve sexual dysfunction, but have included only scant evidence for safety or for adverse side-effects.

This study is the most comprehensive meta-analysis of testosterone treatment for women ever undertaken, and included 46 reports on 36 trials involving 8,480 women.

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New study to relieve hot flushes and night sweats experienced by women after breast cancer

75% of women diagnosed with breast cancer will have a hormone sensitive cancer. Most of these women will go on treatment to block estrogen production (an aromatase inhibitor) or action (tamoxifen) in their body. All postmenopausal women have low estrogen, but these treatments result in very profound estrogen deficiency and usually, more severe menopausal symptoms.

The common menopausal symptoms, hot flushes and night sweats, can be debilitating, and cause severe sleep deprivation. But after breast cancer women cannot use estrogen to relieve these symptoms. There are some alternatives to manage flushes and sweats, but mostly they are not very effective.

A study to evaluate a new potential treatment to prevent hot flushes and night sweats for severely affected women with breast cancer is commencing at several sites in Australia.

The study will determine the effectiveness of QUE 122 to relieve hot flushes and night sweats. This is a small molecule that attaches to a cell receptor called ‘CXCR4’. This is a receptor that is a target for drugs to treat cancer, but the Que 122 molecule was found, in an early study, to relieve hot flushes and night sweats. The molecule was discovered at Emory University in the USA and the company, Que Oncology, that is sponsoring the study was formed through a collaboration that involves Emory University and University of Queensland.

The Monash Women’s Health Research Program is now recruiting women with breast cancer on hormone therapy (tamoxifen or an aromatase inhibitor) to this study. Women can participate in this study at our site at the Monash Alfred Hospital Campus, at the Royal Women’s Hospital, and at sites in Sydney, Adelaide and Perth.

To be eligible to participate in the study women need to be aged 18-70 years, have been taking tamoxifen or an aromatase inhibitor for at least 1 month and be experiencing 7 or more hot flushes/night sweats each day.

For more information about the study please email womens.health@monash.edu or call Michelle Reading on
+61 3 9903 0836.

Professor Susan Davis selected as 2019 Senior Plenary Awardee of the Endocrine Society of Australia

Professor Susan Davis has been selected as the 2019 Senior Plenary Awardee of the Endocrine Society of Australia. The award recognises her outstanding research career in the field of Endocrinology in Australia. As the recipient, Sue will give the opening Plenary Lecture at the Annual Scientific Meeting to be held at the Sydney Convention & Exhibition Centre in August.

Professor Susan Davis on BBC News

Professor Susan Davis was interviewed by BBC News recently discussing testosterone replacement therapy for some menopausal women.

You can watch the interview here.

Professor Susan Davis at the Indian Menopause Society Annual Congress

Professor Sue Davis attended the Indian Menopause Society annual Congress in Kolkata recently, which was attended by delegates from across Southeast Asia. The focus of the conference was healthy ageing for women after menopause, and Sue conducted an up-skilling workshop on behalf of the International Menopause Society, of which she is President. The workshop was a great success with a very high attendance, and was marked by huge enthusiasm by guests to learn more about caring for women at menopause. Sue was also an invited plenary speaker at the Congress.

Professor Susan Davis delivers opening keynote at Dexeus Forum, Barcelona

Professor Susan Davis delivered the opening keynote address at the 44th Dexeus Forum in Barcelona in November 2018. The Congress is a forum to share updates in obstetrics, gynaecology and reproductive medicine, and attracted 950 delegates from 37 countries. Sue delivered a talk entitled ‘State of the art in menopause care’.

Professor Susan Davis becomes President of the International Menopause Society

Professor Susan Davis is now the President of the International Menopause Society, a role which formally commenced at the 16th World Congress on Menopause in Vancouver in June 2018. The two-year position will involve a lot of work, leading up to the 17th World Congress in Melbourne in 2020.

There was a big team presence at the Congress, with the Women's Health Research Program's Dr Rakib Islam presented findings on incontinence in mid-life Bangladeshi women; Dr Ensieh Fooladi reporting on menopausal symptoms in Iranian women; Professor Robin Bell giving two invited presentations, 'The medical literature – what is wrong with it and what can we do about it?' and 'Screening for breast cancer – is it worth it?' , and Professor Davis debating the utility of testosterone to treat low female sexual desire.

Professor Susan Davis awarded Best Paper by North American Menopause Society

The North American Menopause Society (NAMS) has awarded Professor Susan Davis the Lippincott Williams & Wilkins Best Paper of the Year Award.

The six categories for the Society's 2016 awards recognise outstanding contributions to the field of women's health and menopause — Professor Davis was the only Australian researcher to receive this high honour.

For the best paper category the recipient is hand-picked by the Editor-in-Chief of the Journal, Harvard Medical School Professor Isaac Schiff.

Professor Davis received the award for her publication in Menopause titled, “Moderate to severe vasomotor and sexual symptoms remain problematic for women aged 60 to 65 years.”

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Pragya Gartoulla awarded Maturitas New Investigator Award

Women's Health Research Program PhD candidate Pragya Gartoulla was awarded the Maturitas Elsevier New Investigator Award for 2016 for her paper: Gartoulla P, Bell RJ, Worsley R, Davis SR. Menopausal vasomotor symptoms are associated with poor self-assessed work ability. Maturitas 2016 87:33-39.

This is an annual prize awarded for the best paper published in the journal by a New Investigator.

Maturitas is the official journal of the European Menopause and Andropause Society (EMAS) and affiliated with the Australasian Menopause Society (AMS), published by Elsevier Science. It is an international multidisciplinary peer reviewed scientific journal of midlife health and beyond and provides a forum for all aspects of postreproductive health in both genders ranging from basic science to health and social care.