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Member Research & Reports

Member Research & Reports

George Mason: University to Study Link Between Environmental Pollutants and Endometriosis with $1.6 Million NIH Grant

Dr. Anna Pollack, associate professor at the George Mason University College of Health and Human Services has received a $1.6M grant from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) to study the link between endometriosis and endocrine disrupting chemicals. These chemicals are sometimes called forever chemicals and are commonly found in humans’ diets and household products.

The study — the first to measure concentrations of endocrine disruptors both inside and outside the uterus — seeks to answer two questions: first whether levels of these endocrine disruptors inside the uterus are associated with endometriosis and, second, if these chemicals in endometrial tissue found outside the uterus are associated with the severity of the disorder.

The study leverages data and specimens collected from the Endometriosis: Natural History, Diagnosis, and Outcomes (ENDO) Study. The ENDO study (conducted at the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development) enrolled 495 women aged 18-44, both with and without endometriosis prior to laparoscopic surgery. Using the tissue taken during the surgery, researchers will study concentrations of endocrine disruptors in healthy tissue inside the uterus and endometriosis implant tissues and determine if they are associated with endometriosis.

“NIH support for this research will shed insight about endocrine disruptors’ roles in the development of gynecologic diseases such as endometriosis.  As an emerging leader in public health research, George Mason University is a natural place for this research to take place,” says Dr. Germaine Louis, dean of the College and principal investigator for the original ENDO study.

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