This work is focused on exploring the physiological processes and therapies associated with hot flashes. The project proposes to develop a tool for use by researchers studying hot flashes in broad population research studies. Hot flashes are experienced by approximately 80 percent of American women between the ages of 45 and 54 and are a significant concern during menopause. Typically expressed as a period of intense heat with sweating, flushing and rapid heartbeat, episodes usually last from five to ten minutes, but have been reported to last as long as an hour. These events frequently occur at night, and may be repeated anywhere from a few times per week to dozens of times per day. No longer relegated simply to women reaching the end of their child bearing years, hot flashes now affect breast cancer survivors, women with chemotherapy-induced ovarian failure, oopherectomized women, women being treated for endometriosis or infertility with gonadotropin- releasing hormone (GnRH) agonists such as Lupron, and men with prostate cancer undergoing androgen deprivation therapy (ADT). Hot flashes are often disruptive and unpleasant, with broad overall health consequences affecting work responsibilities, social activities, sleep, etc. The fundamental physiological triggering mechanisms of hot flashes are not well understood although hot flash therapies are an area of active research often including large therapy trials in broad populations. These studies require an objective measure of the hot flash phenomenon that optimally correlates with self-reported diary data, is specific to hot flashes, and is accurate under ambulatory conditions.
The proposed project develops technology for researchers studying hot flashes in men and women.