Why study bone health in teenagers and young adults who are athletes or exercise excessively?
Excessive exercise, in settings of undernutrition, can cause low bone density, leading to weak bones that could fracture easily. Adolescence is the most critical window of time to impact lifelong bone density. Through our bone studies, we hope to improve bone density in “at risk” teenagers and young adults.
Why study women who have irregular menstrual cycles?
Excessive exercise or restrictive eating can cause a woman to lose her periods altogether (a condition called amenorrhea) or to miss periods frequently. This may be the result of low levels of estrogen. Estrogen plays an important role in bone health, cognition, and decision making. Our research is seeking to thoughtfully understand the impact of estrogen replacement on these processes.
Why study eating disorders?
We devote our time to studying eating disorders because they are complex disorders that can produce long term effects. In addition to the effects on bone, eating disorders also impact many other medical and psychological conditions. The goal of our research is to not only better understand how eating disorders affect the physical and mental health of adolescents, but to ultimately identify effective and targeted treatments of eating disorder symptoms
Why study obesity and metabolic disorders?
Obesity and other metabolic disorders are associated with physical and mental health risks. As adolescence is a critical time for development, we aim to learn more about these effects, particularly those on bone development, as well as effective approaches to weight management.
Adolescent Neuroendocrine Unit
Massachusetts General Hospital
55 Fruit St., BUL 457B
Boston, MA 02114