February 21, 2024

166: Cardiovascular Disease & Brain Aging During Menopause with Rebecca Thurston, PhD

In this Episode

For years, hot flashes and night sweats (aka vasomotor symptoms) were considered just a “bothersome” part of being a menopausal woman: we were to wear layers, buy a fan, and soldier on. Then researchers started making some troubling connections between vasomotor symptoms and chronic disease. This week’s guest, Dr. Rebecca Thurston, is one of those investigators whose work shows that women with severe and/or persistent vasomotor symptoms have an increased risk for cardiovascular disease and changes in the brain that are linked to dementia. We dig into those findings and many more during this week’s episode.

Rebecca C. Thurston, PhD, FABMR, FAPS, is recognized nationally as a leader in the field of women’s health, particularly in the areas of menopause, trauma, cardiovascular disease, and brain aging in women. Her innovative research focuses on menopause, cardiovascular disease, and dementia risk in women, three prevalent and inter-related health issues that can have a profound impact on women’s lives. She is Pittsburgh Foundation Chair in Women’s Health and Dementia and Professor of Psychiatry, Epidemiology, Psychology, and Clinical and Translational Science, at the University of Pittsburgh. She also serves as Director of Women’s Biobehavioral Health Program at the University of Pittsburgh as well as Cardiovascular Behavioral Medicine Research Training Program at the University of Pittsburgh. You can learn more about her and her work at UPMC.com


Trajectories of Sleep Over Midlife and Incident Cardiovascular Disease Events in the Study of Women’s Health Across the Nation here

Trauma and its implications for women’s cardiovascular health during the menopause transition: Lessons from MsHeart/MsBrain and SWAN studies here

Menopausal Vasomotor Symptoms and White Matter Hyperintensities in Midlife Women here

Menopausal Vasomotor Symptoms and Risk of Incident Cardiovascular Disease Events in SWAN here

Cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia here

Brief behavioral treatment for insomnia here

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