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Approved Research

Women reproductive health and its association with age-related cognitive function changes and psychiatric disorders

Principal Investigator: Dr Zhirong Guo
Approved Research ID: 93125
Approval date: September 15th 2022

Lay summary

Women would experience several reproductive events in their lifetime, which normally including menarche, pregnancy, and menopause. For some, procedures like hysterectomy or oophorectomy were used. These events could not only cause changes in the production of female hormones, but also affecting the psychological or psychiatric states of women. For example, opioids were routinely prescribed to women undergone hysterectomy as a pain management scheme, which could lead to subsequent chronic drug use or substance use disorder. However, prospective cohort studies on the long-term health effect of these women reproductive factors on cognitive and psychiatric disorders were rare.

This research aimed to identify the associations and causal relationships between women reproductive factors (such as age at menarche, age at menopause, age at live child birth, and history of hysterectomy or oophorectomy) and age-related mental health outcomes, including age-related cognitive functions and the sociopsychological statuses (e.g. depression or bipolar disorders), while controlling for socio-demographic factors, environmental factors, family and medical history, lifestyle factors, etc.

We believe that the results of the study would inform the public on the risk of mental disorders attributed to the reproductive factors. Moreover, it would inform the clinicians regarding the long-term mental health risks associated with the use of certain procedures (e.g. hysterectomy or oophorectomy) or medications, thus provided real-world evidences to improve the quality of obstetrics and gynaecology care.

The design and the data comprehensiveness of the UKBiobank provided an unique opportunity to explore this research question with both cross-sectional and longitudinal data. Its large sample size also ensured the validity of the results.

We expected the study to be completed in the next 36 months.