Predictive Model for Baseline Serum Estradiol Concentration of Female Laboratory Mice; Breaking Barriers: Inequities in Female Athlete Sports Injury Research and Treatment in the U.S.

Perez, Khatiana, School of Engineering and Applied Science, University of Virginia
Norton, Peter, EN-Engineering and Society, University of Virginia
Fitzgerald, Gerard, EN-Engineering and Society, University of Virginia
Dunn, Jacob, EN-Biomed Engr Dept, University of Virginia
Haase, Megan, EN-Biomed Engr Dept Engineering Graduate, University of Virginia

The underrepresentation and lack of research and treatment concerning female athletes in the U.S. have resulted in significant burdens on their mental and physical well-being. This issue affects modern day female athletes, where it was not until the late 1800s that women could participate in professional competitions. This paper explores the inequities female athletes face through a bioethics lens through the principle of beneficence. Beneficence, defined as the moral obligation to do good to others, forms the theoretical framework important for understanding and finding solutions to current disparities, as well as past case studies. A culture of beneficence can be fostered in the communities directly involved with female athletes, including medical practitioners, researchers, coaches, and teams. By maximizing benefits while minimizing harm, tangible and intangible advantages for female athletes can be achieved. These benefits encompass access to well-adjusted training and nutritional plans, unbiased medical care, representation in research, and a platform to voice concerns in the media. The paper underscores the necessity of addressing disparities in women's sports injury research and treatment. In the realm of physical health, female athletes face disparities in pain management, hormonal effects, nutritional needs, and reproductive health. These biological nuances demand tailored treatment plans to optimize performance and enhance quality of life. Furthermore, the paper studies the often-overlooked domain of mental health among female athletes. While improvements in physical health can enhance overall well-being, a supportive and informed environment addressing mental health challenges is crucial. To encourage and carry out solutions, the paper proposes initiatives in research, education, and community engagement. Diversifying research populations and advocating for gender-responsive methodologies can bridge existing knowledge and participation gaps. Conferences and discussions provide platforms to disseminate critical information and foster collaboration among stakeholders. Moreover, the creation of support systems, such as a curated mobile application, can offer personalized resources and guidance tailored to the unique needs of female athletes. By amplifying the voices of female athletes and promoting inclusivity, a more equitable environment can be cultivated. Embracing the principle of beneficence in addressing gender disparities in women’s health not only benefits female athletes but also advances our understanding of sports-related issues across diverse populations. By fostering inclusivity and understanding, we can build a way that is more just and supportive in our communities. The sociotechnical project topic extends to the technical topic in terms of bias in women’s health research. The purpose of the technical research project was to establish the baseline concentration of estradiol in female mice and develop an effective model to predict these concentrations. Estradiol is a type of estrogen hormone and plays a crucial role in regulating and developing reproductive functions. Estrogen research studies have primarily focused on male mice in the past and are now considered outdated. Furthermore, recent discoveries have disproved the assumption that female mice produce more variable results due to their hormonal makeup, revealing a research bias that has limited the understanding of estradiol dynamics in female mice. The research aims to contribute valuable insights to women's health, such as hormone replacement therapy, by determining the baseline estradiol concentration in female mice and improving upon existing research. The creation of a precise and predictive model for estradiol concentrations can significantly enhance the efficiency of research efforts, potentially saving valuable time and resources by reducing the need for laboratory equipment. In addition to its immediate applications, the model can have broader implications by improving the efficiency of other research projects related to estradiol, allowing researchers to rapidly estimate estradiol concentration. The model was found to validate older experimentation literature and help fill in existing gaps in the understanding of the estrous cycle in female mice, which comprises four stages and plays a crucial role in reproductive processes. The study aimed to predict the baseline estradiol concentration accurately. To achieve this, the baseline serum estradiol concentration in female mice was determined to create a model based on the estrous cycle stage and concentration. Techniques such as vaginal flushing and cytology, as well as blood collection and analysis were performed using the E2 ELISA. Additionally, cell area ratios for the cycle stages were found based on present cell types.

BS (Bachelor of Science)
gender disparities, female athletes, women's research, reproductive health, estrous cycle research

School of Engineering and Applied Science

Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Engineering

Technical Advisors: Jacob Dunn, Megan Haase

STS Advisors: Gerard Fitzgerald, Peter Norton

Technical Team Members: Ramya Tangirala, Mikayla Jackson, Samiyah Syeda, Gregory Lawrence

All rights reserved (no additional license for public reuse)
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