Women’s Reproductive, Heart, and Brain Health - W♥MB

The primary goal of the University of Utah’s Women’s Reproductive, Heart, and Brain Health - W♥MB initiative is to better understand how a woman’s early and mid-life reproductive health is connected to her later heart and brain health. Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death among women in the United States, with 1 in 3 women dying from heart disease and stroke.1 Women are also disproportionately affected by Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia, with lifetime risk being 1 in 5 for women compared to 1 in 10 for men.2 Studies show that women’s longer life span only partially explains this risk difference. Variation in exposures throughout the life course also contribute, including a women’s menstrual cycle function, ability to achieve and maintain a healthy pregnancy, and menopausal transition experience. Our initiative includes research, community engagement, and education.

(1.) Xu J, Murphy SL, Kochanek KD, Bastian B, Arias E. Deaths: Final Data for 2016. Natl Vital Stat Rep. 2018 Jul;67(5):1-76.

(2.) Chêne G, Beiser A, Au R, et al. Gender and incidence of dementia in the Framingham Heart Study from mid-adult life. Alzheimers Dement. 2015;11(3):310-320. doi:10.1016/j.jalz.2013.10.005

  1. Community Engagement
  2. Publications and Presentations
    1. Publications
      1. Karen C Schliep, Women’s reproductive lifespan and subsequent inflammatory profile, how to best measure reproductive lifespan and the need for baseline assessments, American Journal of Epidemiology, kwz266
      2. Cannon-Albright LA, Foster NL, Schliep K, Farnham JM, Teerlink CC, Kaddas H, Tschanz J, Corcoran C, Kauwe JSK (2019). Relative risk for Alzheimer disease based on complete family history. Neurology. 9;92(15):e1745-e1753.
      3. Schliep K, Ju Shinyoung, Varner M, VanDerslice J, Smith K (2018). How good are electronic health records and death certificates for identifying Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia? International Journal of Population Data Science. Vol 3 No 4.
      4. NIH NIA, 1K01AG058781-01A1, Hypertensive Disorders of Pregnancy and Subsequent Risk of Vascular Dementia, Alzheimer’s Disease, or Related Dementia: A Retrospective Cohort Study Taking into Account Mid-Life Mediating Factors. 2020-2025. Schliep (PI)
    2. Presentations
      1. Schliep K, Ju Shinyoung, Smith K, Ostbye T, Tschanz J, Foster N, Varner M.  Association between Hypertensive Disorders of Pregnancy and Dementia: A Systematic Review. Poster presentation at UU Sex & Gender in Women’s Health Research Symposium, May 17th, 2019
      2. Karen Schliep, *Lily Gu, Fares Qeadan. Sex Differences in Subjective Cognitive Decline: Finding from the BRFSS national survey (2015-2018) Presentation at Sex, Gender and Women’s Health Across the Lifespan Virtual Symposium, May 14th, 2020. University of Utah Center of Excellence in Women’s Health and the Eccles Health Sciences Library

  3. Grants
    1. Center on Aging Pilot Grant 2018. “Association Between Women's Reproductive Health and Later Dementia”

Contact Information

Karen Schliep PhD, MSPH
University of Utah, DFPM
375 Chipeta Way
Salt Lake City, UT 84108