Three distinct but interrelated projects were designed to investigate the overarching theme of how female-specific conditions associated with major hormonal shifts, including hypertensive pregnancy disorders and menopausal estrogen deficiency or menopausal hormone therapy, affect cerebrovascular function and cognition in women.

It is expected that cohorts and the infrastructure established through this SCOR will be a resource for future projects testing new hypotheses in hypertensive pregnancy disorders, menopause and healthy aging in women and will provide the background to design similar studies related to hormonal decline and cognitive impairment in men.

Project 1: Hypertensive Pregnancy Disorders: Future Cardiovascular Disease and Cognitive Functioning
Focuses on female sex-specific conditions of hypertensive pregnancy disorders. These disorders cover a spectrum of conditions, including preeclampsia, eclampsia, preeclampsia superimposed on chronic hypertension, chronic hypertension and gestational hypertension.

Project 2: Effects of Menopausal Hormone Therapy on Imaging Markers of Cognitive Health
Examines effects of menopausal hormone therapy (MHT) on brain structure and cognitive function. The term "menopausal hormone therapy" refers to estrogen-based therapies for women, which might include estrogen-alone or estrogen-plus-progestogen. Cognition is defined by performance on neurocognitive tests in four domains:

  • Verbal learning and memory
  • Auditory attention and working memory
  • Visual attention and perceptual speed
  • Speeded language and flexibility

Project 3: Markers of Cerebrovascular Dysfunction in Women at Risk
Evaluates blood flow to the brain in women who experienced preeclampsia during pregnancy, menopause and MHT in relationship to platelet/microvesicles in the blood and with cognition and brain pathology.