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Environmental Factor, April 2015

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NIEHS recruiting volunteers for new study on black cohosh

By Kelly Lenox

Headshot of Kristine Witt

Witt’s group is responsible for testing chemicals of interest to NTP, to see if they trigger DNA changes that may cause adverse health effects.

Researchers at NIEHS are recruiting women in the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill area of North Carolina for a clinical study on black cohosh. Women who take the herbal supplement for hot flashes, cramps, or other symptoms can take part in this important study on the health effects of black cohosh.

“Collaborating with the NIEHS Clinical Research Unit gives us an important opportunity to follow up on findings from our NTP [National Toxicology Program] animal studies, by evaluating potential biomarkers of black cohosh use in women in real-life exposure situations,” said Kristine Witt, head of the NTP Genetic Toxicology Group. “The study will compare several specific endpoints, such as folic acid and vitamin B12 levels, in two populations of women — those who have been taking black cohosh for at least 3 months, and those who have never taken black cohosh.”

To participate, a woman must be healthy, neither pregnant nor breastfeeding, over the age of 18, and already taking a black cohosh supplement. For this study, healthy means feeling well and able to perform normal activities. A woman with a chronic condition, such as high blood pressure, is considered healthy if she is being treated and the condition is under control.

Qualified participants must make a visit to the NIEHS Clinical Research Unit in Research Triangle Park to donate a blood sample. Volunteers will be compensated up to $50.

For questions about the Black Cohosh Study, call 919-316-4976.

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