Description of Research Expertise
Research Interests: Dr Dokras directs the Penn Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) trans disciplinary research program.
Keywords: PCOS, androgens, metabolic risk, mood disorders, HRQOL
Research Details:PCOS is the commonest endocrine disorder in reproductive age women with a prevalence of 8-15%. It is associated with significant gynecological, dermatologic, metabolic and psychiatric co-morbidities. Our research program has two main interests; understanding long term cardiovascular morbidity and risk of depression and anxiety disorders in PCOS. Both cardiovascular disease (CVD) and mood disorders are associated with significantly physical and emotional morbidity and add significantly to the financial burden of the healthcare system.
Our studies have shown that young women with PCOS have an increased risk of obesity, dyslipidemia, metabolic syndrome and subclinical atherosclerosis compared to age matched controls. We are currently interested in understanding the determinants of CVD risk by performing studies at both cellular level (lipid phenotyping, HDL function) and population levels (impact of steroid hormones on lipids, studying role of androgens in subclinical atherosclerosis). Some of these studies are conducted in collaboration with Dr Dan Rader.
Our second area of interest is to better understand the risk of lowered health related quality of life (HRQOL), and increased risk of anxiety and mood disorders in PCOS. We were among the first groups to comprehensively demonstrate a fourfold increased risk of depression and anxiety in PCOS. We are interested in understanding the impact of interventions such as lifestyle change, hormonal contraception, CBT on HRQOL, mood and anxiety disorders.