January 8, 1999

Subjects needed for study of pediatric hormone disorder

Girls ages 5-11 are sought for a control group in a Vanderbilt University Medical Center study to learn more about ovarian hormone levels in girls with polycystic ovary syndrome.

This rare disorder, which often causes infertility, may first become apparent when a girl develops pubic hair at an abnormally young age. The disorder involves abnormal facial and body hair, irregular menstrual cycles and the development of numerous cysts on the ovaries.

The study, being conducted in the division of Pediatric Endocrinology, is comparing levels of hormones produced by the ovaries in girls referred to the clinic with early onset of pubic hair to levels of hormones in similarly aged girls without this problem.

Participation involves outpatient visits to the Clinical Research Center on two consecutive mornings to have blood drawn for testing. Each visit requires as long as one and a half hours.

Participants take a steroid pill at bedtime each night before the visits to suppress hormone secretion from the adrenal gland (to ensure that hormone levels in the bloodstream originate from the ovaries). Before the first blood draw, an injection is given to stimulate the ovaries to produce the maximum level of hormones.

A child life specialist from Vanderbilt Children's Hospital is on hand during each visit to explain the procedure and help ease stress or anxiety for the child. A numbing cream is used to minimize discomfort from the blood draws and injection.

At the completion of the testing, families receive $100.

The study is approved by VUMC's Institutional Review Board, and the medications are approved by the Food and Drug Administration for use in children.

Parents who wish to learn more should contact Dr. Revi Mathew, pediatric endocrinology fellow, at 322-7427 or by e-mail at revi.mathew@mcmail.vanderbilt.edu.