Women's Health and Exercise Lab
Description of Research
We perform human clinical research in the area of women's health and exercise. We use an integrated and interdisciplinary approach to increase our understanding of the physiological and behavioral underpinnings of interactions between energy balance, reproductive function, bone health and exercise performance. We conduct both randomized clinical trials and short-term prospective experiments to further understand the female athlete triad, the etiology of menstrual disturbances, bone loss and stress fracture in premenopausal women, the impact of post-meal metabolism and gut peptides on energy balance, reproductive function, bone strength and stress fractures, the impact of eating behavior phenotypes on health outcomes, and the role of energy balance on sports performance. Our laboratory utilizes methodological approaches such as daily urine collection and measures of urinary steroids and gonadotropins, the measurement of resting metabolic rate, thermic effect of a meal, and caloric expenditure of physical activity, aerobic fitness, metabolic and reproductive hormone and gut peptide testing, bone density (DXA), bone microarchitecture (pQCT), body composition (DXA and underwater weighing), and eating behavior assessments.
Senior Research Technologist: Ellen M. Bingham, M.S.
Project Coordinators: Jay Lieberman, Ph.D. candidate and Heather Allaway, Ph.D. candidate
Postdoctoral Fellows: Rebecca Mallinson, Ph.D. and Karsten Koehler, Ph.D.
Graduate Students: Jay Lieberman, Ph.D. candidate, Heather Allaway, Ph.D. candidate, and Dylan Petkus, B.S.
Undergraduate Honors Thesis Students: Emily Southmayd
- Scheid JL, and MJ De Souza. Menstrual Irregularities and Energy Deficiency in Physically Active Women: The Role of Ghrelin, PYY and Adipocytokines. Medicine and Sport Science. 2010; 55:82-102. Epub 2010 Oct 14.
- Williams, NI, JL Reed, HJ Leidy, RS Legro, and MJ De Souza. Exercise Combined with Caloric Restriction Reduces Estrogen and Progesterone Exposure in Premenopausal Women. Human Reproduction. 2010 Sep;25(9):2328-39. Epub 2010 Jul 6.
- De Souza, MJ, RJ Toombs, JL Scheid, E O'Donnell, SL West, and NI Williams. High Prevalence of Subtle and Severe Menstrual Disturbances in Exercising Women: Confirmation using Daily Hormone Measures. Human Reproduction. 2010 Feb;25(2):491-503. Epub 2009 Nov 26.
- West, SL, JL Scheid, NI Williams, and MJ De Souza. Evidence of Elevated Osteoprotegerin Levels in Exercising Women with Hypothalamic Amenorrhea. Bone. 2009 Jan; 44(1): 137-44. Epub 2008 Sep 26.
- Scheid, JL, NI Williams, SL West, and MJ De Souza. Elevated PYY is Associated with Energy Deficiency and Indices of Subclinical Disordered Eating in Exercising Women with Hypothalamic Amenorrhea. Appetite. 2009 Feb;52(1):184-92. Epub 2008 Sep 25.
- O'Donnell, E, PJ Harvey, and MJ De Souza. Relationships between Vascular Resistance and Energy Deficiency, Nutritional Status and Oxidative Stress in Estrogen Deficient Physically Active Women. Clinical Endocrinology. (Oxf). 2009; 7:294-302. Epub 2008 Jun 27.
- De Souza, MJ, SL West, S Jamal, G Hawker, C Gundberg, and NI Williams. The Presence of Both an Energy Deficiency and Estrogen Deficiency Exacerbate Alterations of Bone Metabolism in Exercising Women. Bone. 2008 Jul;43(1):140-8. Epub 2008 Apr 8.
- De Souza, MJ, D Lee, J Van Heest, JL Scheid, and NI Williams. Severity of Energy-Related Menstrual Disturbances Increases in Proportion to Indices of Energy Conservation in Exercising Women. Fertility and Sterility. 2007; 88(4): 971-975.
- Leidy HJ, KA Dougherty, BR Frye, KM Duke, and NI Williams. Twenty-four-hour Ghrelin Is Elevated after Calorie Restriction and Exercise Training in Non-obese Women. Obesity Research. 2007 Feb;15(2):446-55.
- O'Donnell, E, PJ Harvey, J Goodman, and MJ De Souza. Long Term Estrogen Deficiency Lowers Regional Blood Flow, Resting Systolic Blood Pressure and Heart Rate in Exercising Premenopausal Women. American Journal of Physiology: Endocrinology and Metabolism. 2007 May; 292(5): E1401-9. Epub 2007 Jan 16.
- De Souza, MJ, NI Williams, J Alleyne, JD Vescovi, JL VanHeest, and MP Warren. Correction of Misinterpretations and Misrepresentations of the Female Athlete Triad. British Journal of Sports Medicine. 2007 Jan; 41(1):58-9.
- De Souza, MJ, R Hontscharuk, M Olmsted, T Burke, G Kerr and NI Williams. Drive for Thinness Score is a Proxy Indicator of Energy Deficiency in Exercising Women. Appetite. 2007 May; 48(3):359-67. Epub 2006 Dec 20.
- Leidy HJ, and NI Williams. Meal Energy Content is Related to Features of Meal-related Ghrelin Profiles Across a Typical Day of Eating in Non-obese Premenopausal Women. Horm Metab Res. 2006 May;38(5):317-22.
- Hertel, J, NI Williams, LC Olmsted-Kramer, HJ Leidy, and M Putukian. Neuromuscular performance and knee laxity do not change across the menstrual cycle in female athletes. Knee Surg Sports Traumatol Arthrosc. 2006; 14(9):817-22.
- Williams NI, and HJ Leidy. Food Attitudes in Female Athletes: Association with Menstrual Cycle Length. Journal of Sport Sciences. 2006; 24(9): 979-86.
- Body composition testing: anthropometry, dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA), peripheral quantitative computed tomography (pQCT), deuterium dilution, air displacement plethysmography (BodPod), and underwater weighing
- Resting metabolic rate and VO2max testing to quantify metabolism and fitness level
- Analysis of diet and physical activity records, and energy expenditure from data collected using heart rate monitors
- Blood sampling to measure markers of appetite and metabolism, such as glucose, insulin, active ghrelin, CCK, GLP-1, Amylin, PYY, T4, T3, TSH, and reproductive hormones such as LH, FSH, DHEAS, SHBG, testosterone, and prolactin
- Daily urine sampling to characterize women’s menstrual cycles by measuring urinary metabolites of estrogen (E1G), progesterone (PdG), and LH
- Analysis of questionnaires measuring variables such as medical history, perceived stress, depression, and beliefs and behaviors about eating and dieting
Goal: To test the effectiveness of 12 months increased food intake to improve bone health and restore menstrual cycles in women with menstrual disturbances who exercise regularly and have a chronic energy deficit
Thermic Effect of Food Study
Goal: To determine the effect of a mixed-composition meal on the thermic effect of food, fuel utilization, subjective appetite, and appetite hormone responses in women with exercise-associated functional hypothalamic amenorrhea secondary to a chronic energy deficit.
The Distance Running Study
Goal: To examine the effects of energy intake and energy expenditure on distance running performance and bone health in actively competitive female distance runners.