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Sturgeon will recruit 100 undergraduate female students at UMass Amherst, who have never given birth, for the study, which will be conducted at the UMass Institute for Applied Life Sciences' Models to Medicine Center.
Environmental chemical exposure is thought to affect breast density by increasing levels of estrogen and inflammation. Sturgeon and colleagues will measure participants' urinary levels of BPA, BPS, BPF, seven phthalate metabolites, oxybenzone, four parabens, triclosan, triclocarbon and two other phenols in a pooled urine specimen from 24-hour collections on three spaced days prior to computerized MRI in IALS' Human Magnetic Resonance Center. The urine collection requires participants to collect all of their urine over a 24-hour period because exposure to these chemicals can vary substantially throughout the day.
"The study is innovative because of the multiple time-point exposure measurements, the use of the urinary matrix to measure these chemicals and computerized magnetic resonance imaging to measure breast density in young women," Sturgeon says.
One of the important goals of this grant is to expose students to research, she adds. Both undergraduate and graduate students are involved, including Jennifer Carroll, Hannah Guard, Jessica Daum, Ashley Moineau and Emily Fernandes.
"Working on this study has been an incredible learning experience for me," says Guard, a junior from Marion, Massachusetts, double-majoring in biochemistry and molecular biology, as well as public health. "While working collaboratively with both professors and students, this study has given me the opportunity to gain hands-on experience in participant recruitment, data collection and lab work, truly enhancing my educational experience at UMass beyond the classroom." Source:
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