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University of Iowa News Release

Nov. 18, 2003

UI Health Care Infertility Specialist Earns Poster Prize

A University of Iowa Health Care physician in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology earned an award for her research poster presentation at the recent American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) annual meeting.

Anuja Dokras, M.D., Ph.D., in the Division of Reproductive Endocrinology at UI Hospitals and Clinics, specializes in treating patients affected by infertility and other gynecological problems. Dokras received the prize for her poster presentation about endothelial dysfunction in women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). Scientists presented more than 550 abstracts at the meeting and only three received awards.

In addition to infertility, women with PCOS have a number of gynecological and metabolic health issues. They have irregular menses, hair growth problems, acne, obesity, and they may have diabetes and lipid disorders. PCOS affects approximately 10 percent of women in the reproductive age group and is the most common endocrine problem in this group.

Dokras, assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology in the UI Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine, was instrumental in establishing the PCOS Clinic in the UI Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology. The comprehensive clinic addresses the varied medical needs of women with PCOS. In 2002, specialists in the Reproductive Endocrinology Clinic saw a total of 246 new patients and completed 663 total patient visits for women with a diagnosis of PCOS. Currently, the PCOS Clinic is staffed by a reproductive endocrinologist, a registered nutritionist, an exercise therapist and a research nurse. Patients also receive printed information about PCOS and the PCOS patient support group.

Dokras' research showed a 50 percent reduction in blood vessel function among obese women with PCOS. That study was performed in collaboration with Dinesh Jagasia, M.D., UI assistant professor (clinical) of internal medicine, and William Haynes, M.D., UI professor of internal medicine. Dokras is currently examining the effects of medical interventions to improve blood vessel function in this population.

Dokras also recently received a Reproductive Scientist Development Award from the National Institute of Child Health Development and a research grant from the American Society for Reproductive Medicine and Serono, Inc. Her research focuses upon a novel tumor suppressor gene called maspin and its role in the development of the placenta and obstetric disorders such as preeclampsia and growth restrictions of the uterus.

ASRM is devoted to advancing knowledge and expertise in infertility, reproductive medicine and biology. The organization was founded by a small group of fertility experts who met in Chicago in 1944. Today, ASRM members reside in all 50 of the United States and in more than 100 other countries. The society is multidisciplinary, with members including obstetrician/ gynecologists, urologists, reproductive endocrinologists, embryologists, mental health professionals, internists, nurses, practice administrators, laboratory technicians, pediatricians, research scientists and veterinarians.

University of Iowa Health Care describes the partnership between the UI Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine and UI Hospitals and Clinics and the patient care, medical education and research programs and services they provide. Visit UI Health Care online at www.uihealthcare.com.

STORY SOURCE: Joint Office for Planning, Marketing and Communications, University of Iowa Health Care, 200 Hawkins Drive, Room 8798 JPP, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-1009.

MEDIA CONTACT: Tom Moore, 319-356-3945, thomas-moore@uiowa.edu