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Epidemiology Branch (EB)

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EB Research - Methodological Research in Epidemiology

Modeling of Menstrual Cycle Function

The menstrual cycle is a complex process involving multiple hormones which are regulated by intricate feedback mechanisms. Hormones, such as luteinizing hormone, follicle stimulating hormone, estrogen, and progesterone follow a cyclical pattern, which is coordinated by the hypothalamic-pituitary-ovarian axis. Considerable variability exists both between women and within a woman from cycle to cycle. Hormone levels and cycle characteristics have been associated with various reproductive outcomes, such as fertility, and spontaneous abortion, as well as with breast and ovarian cancer, uterine fibroids, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. To better describe factors associated with menstrual cycle function and inform women's health research, statistical models are needed which appropriately account for the intricacies of the menstrual cycle biology. Here we are interested in developing various approaches to modeling menstrual cycle function in order to answer the following types of questions:

  • What is the "typical" menstrual cycle pattern in a population of women?
  • What is the effect of a subject-specific covariate on a typical menstrual cycle?
  • How does the variation in menstrual cycle function differ between women and across consecutive cycles on the same woman?
  • What is the inter-relationship between multiple hormones across the menstrual cycle?

Current topics of interest include the application of harmonic models to model menstrual cycle function, as well as the use of joint-models to model the four reproductive hormones simultaneously.

Principal Investigators

Enrique F. Schisterman, Ph.D. & Paul Albert, Ph.D.

DIPHR Collaborators

Selected Publications

  • Roy A, Danaher M, Mumford SL, Chen Z. A Bayesian Order-Restricted Model for Hormonal Dynamics During Menstrual Cycles of Healthy Women. Statistics in Medicine 2012; 28;31(22):2428-40. PMID: 22147446
  • Schildcrout JS, Mumford SL, Chen Z, Heagerty PJ, Rathouz PJ. Outcome-Dependent Sampling for Longitudinal Binary Response Data Based on a Time-Varying Auxiliary Biomarker. Statistics in Medicine, 2012; 28;31(22):2441-56. PMID: 22086716.
  •  Yeung EH, Zhang C, Albert PS, Mumford SL, Ye A, Perkins NJ, Wactawski-Wende J, Schisterman EF. Adiposity and sex hormones across the menstrual cycle: the BioCycle Study. International Journal of Obesity, 2013;37(2):237-43. PMID: 22310471
  • Mumford SL, Steiner AZ, Pollack AZ, Perkins NJ, Filiberto AC, Albert PS, Mattison DR, Wactawski-Wende J, Schisterman EF. The utility of menstrual cycle length as an indicator of cumulative hormonal exposure. Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, 2012;97(10):E1871-9. PMID: 22837188
  • Dasharathy SS, Mumford SL, Pollack AZ, Perkins NJ, Mattison DR, Wactawski-Wende J, Schisterman EF. Menstrual bleeding patterns among regularly menstruating women. American Journal of Epidemiology 2012; 175:536-545. PMID: 22350580
  • Gaskins AJ, Wilchesky M, Mumford SL, Whitcomb BW, Browne RW, Wactawski-Wende J, Perkins NJ, Schisterman EF. Endogenous reproductive hormones and C-reactive protein across the menstrual cycle: the BioCycle Study. American Journal of Epidemiology 2012;175:423-431. PMID: 22306563
Last Updated Date: 08/23/2013
Last Reviewed Date: 08/23/2013

Contact Information

Name: Dr Enrique Fabian Schisterman
Chief and Senior Investigator
Epidemiology Branch
Phone: 301-435-6893
Fax: 301-402-2084
E-mail: schistee@mail.nih.gov

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