Excess hormones could cause a condition that can lead to blindness in women, study finds

ScienceDaily | 3/21/2019 | Staff
Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension -- also known as IIH -- is caused by high pressure in the brain with consequences from blindness to incapacitating daily long-term headaches. IIH was originally identified over 100 years ago yet the cause of the condition has remained unknown although there has been much speculation about why more than 95 per cent of total incidence is in women with obesity.

Once regarded as rare, incidence of IIH is now rising dramatically in line with the global rise in obesity and there has been a 150 per cent rise in incidence in last 10 years. Currently there are very limited treatment options.

Scientists - University - Birmingham - Research - National

Scientists at the University of Birmingham carried out research, funded by the National Institute of Health Research (NIHR), the Medical Research Council UK, and Wellcome Trust and published today in JCI Insight, exploring the role of hormones known as androgens in the way IIH develops.

The researchers examined the levels of androgens in blood and urine, as well as in brain fluid known as cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), in 55 women with IIH aged 18 to 45. They then compared the results with the levels observed in women with obesity of the same age and body mass index (BMI), as well as a cohort of women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).

PCOS - Condition - Levels - Types - Androgens

PCOS is a common condition and is classically associated with increased levels of specific types of androgens, which can cause excess hair and irregular periods.

The researchers found that IIH patients had a very different profile of raised levels of androgens compared to women of a similar age with obesity and women with PCOS. Most notable were the high levels of the androgen 'testosterone' found in the blood in IIH women. Crucially, levels of androgens were uniquely increased in the brain fluid (CSF) of women with IIH. When the researchers,...
(Excerpt) Read more at: ScienceDaily
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