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Hot Flashes

July 27, 2018

Scientists explore the brain cells responsible for hot flashes.



The brain cells behind hot flashes. I’m Bob Hirshon and this is Science Update.

By studying a small group of brain cells in mice, researchers report discovering the neurochemistry behind hot flashes. University of Washington neuroscientist Stephanie Padilla explains that these cells regulate body temperature for optimal fertility.

STEPHANIE PADILLA (University of Washington):

When you remove estrogen from the system, these neurons become hyperactive, likely trying to rescue the reproductive loss, or fertility loss.


In the journal Cell Reports, Padilla and her colleagues report also discovering the signaling molecules the cells use. Here’s co-author Christopher Johnson.

CHRISTOPHER JOHNSON (University of Washington):

Any sort of drug that could prevent that signaling molecule from acting could presumably prevent a hot flash from occurring.


Since there are health concerns regarding estrogen supplements used to treat hot flashes, doctors are eager to find new therapies. I’m Bob Hirshon for AAAS, the Science Society.

Story by Bob Hirshon