Mind the Gap: Hormonal Contraceptives and Brain Health

Mind the Gap: Hormonal Contraceptives and Brain Health—Symposium 3: Hormonal Contraceptives and Risks for Women’s Health

January 26, 2023, 10:00 am to 11:45 am

illustration of brain

This symposium is part of our virtual "Mind the Gap: Hormonal Contraceptives and Brain Health" series, which brings attention to the brain health issues that women+ face and encourage the medical, scientific and commercial communities to address them. In this session, we will hear from three renowned speakers who will discuss pertinent topics related to hormonal contraceptives and its' relation to stroke and binge-eating in women+. Attendees will also get a chance to join the conversation during a Q&A period to close the session.


10:00-10:05—Welcome Remarks

10:05-10:30—Speaker 1: Dr. Ami Pravinkant Raval, University of Miami, Florida, USA

10:30-10:55—Speaker 2: Dr. Kelly Klump, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan, USA

10:55-11:20—Speaker 3: Dr. Sofia Ahmed, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta


Individual Event Cost

General Public: $15

Students: $10

We offer you the option of registering for individual events or signing up for the entire series. Video recordings of our conference sessions will be sent to all registrants following each event. Register for this individual event below. 

Individual Event Registration



Dr. Ami Raval

Talk Title: Oral Contraceptives and Stroke: Foes or Friends

Bio: Dr. Ami Raval has numerous years of experience in the field of sex hormones and mechanism of cerebral ischemia. Her ongoing research focuses on elucidating the mechanism(s) by which the female sex hormone- estrogen - decreases the risk of cerebral ischemia in females utilizing in vivo and in vitro cerebral ischemia models in rats, and analysis of mitochondrial function. While working to earn her PhD, Dr. Raval studied the effects of endogenous variations of female sex hormones on non-reproductive tissues; this knowledge helped her to design studies to understand the mechanism of ischemic brain protection by estrogen. She is well versed in various in vivo and in vitro models of cerebral ischemia as well as in imaging, electrophysiology, and behavior and molecular biology techniques. She has also succesfully trained and supervised post-doctoral fellows, students, and technicians to perform ischemia models and the aforementioned techniques. Dr. Raval is also part of the University of Miami’s undergraduate neuroscience program, and she is involved in education of premedical and medical students.


Dr. Kelly Klump

Talk Title: Combined Oral Contraceptive Use and Binge Eating Women: Potential gene x Hormone Interactions

Talk Abstract: Extant animal and human data suggest endogenous ovarian hormones increase risk for binge eating in females, possibly via gene x hormone interactions and hormonally induced increases in genetic influences. Approximately 85% of women will take combined oral contraceptives (COCs) that mimic the riskiest hormonal milieu for binge eating (i.e., post-ovulation when both estrogen and progesterone are present). The purpose of this presentation is to synthesize findings of binge eating risk in COC users. Few studies have been conducted, but results suggest that COCs may increase risk for binge eating and related phenotypes (e.g., craving for sweets), particularly in genetically vulnerable women. Larger, more systematic human and animal studies of COCs and binge eating are needed. The goal of this work should be to advance personalized medicine by identifying the extent of COC risk as well as the role of gene x hormone interactions in susceptibility.

Bio: Dr. Kelly Klump is an MSU Foundation Endowed Professor in the Department of Psychology at Michigan State University (MSU). In 1998, she received her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Minnesota. She completed her pre-doctoral, clinical internship at McLean Hospital, Harvard School of Medicine (1997-1998), and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, the University of Pittsburgh, School of Medicine (1998-2000). Her research focuses on genetic and biological risk factors for eating disorders using both human (i.e., twin studies) and animal models. She is particularly interested in developmental changes in genetic and hormonal risk factors and their meaning for the development of eating disorders. Dr. Klump has published over 250 papers and has received a number of federal grants for this work, including 9 major NIMH grants She also has been honored with awards including the David Shakow Award for Early Career Contributions to Clinical Psychology from the American Psychological Association, New Investigator Awards from the World Congress on Psychiatric Genetics and the Eating Disorders Research Society, the MSU Teacher-Scholar Award, the MSU Distinguished Contributions to Honors Students, the Price Foundation Award for Research Excellence from the National Eating Disorders Association, and the Leadership Award in Research from the Academy for Eating Disorders. Dr. Klump is the first faculty member to receive a MSU Foundation Endowed Professorship, and she was the 2007-2008 President of the Academy for Eating Disorders, the largest, international professional organization dedicated to the treatment, research and prevention of eating disorders.


Dr. Sofia Ahmed

Talk Title: Hormonal Contraceptives and Vascular Health

Talk Abstract: Despite overall improvements in cardiovascular mortality, the incidence and mortality of coronary heart disease in younger women (25–54 years old) are unchanged, highlighting the urgent need to investigate female-specific cardiovascular risk factors in the premenopausal population. The effect of hormonal contraception on vascular health will be discussed.

Bio: Dr. Ahmed is a Professor in the Cumming School of Medicine at the University of Calgary. She is a nephrologist and clinician-scientist with a focus on sex and gender differences in human kidney/cardiovascular physiology and clinical outcomes. Dr. Ahmed is the Vice Chair (Research) for the Department of Medicine, Lead of the Alberta Strategy for Patient Oriented Research Capacity Development Platform and Lead of the Women’s Cardiovascular Health Research Initiative in the Libin Cardiovascular Institute at the University of Calgary. Dr. Ahmed is an Advisory Board member for the Canadian Institutes of Health Research Institute of Gender and Health, a member of the CMAJ Governing Council and the President-Elect for the Organization for the Study of Sex Differences.

Dr. Ahmed completed her MD and internal medicine residency at the University of Toronto and a nephrology fellowship at Brigham and Women’s and Massachusetts General Hospitals in Boston. She completed her Master’s in Medical Sciences at Harvard University. The recipient of the 2021 Canadian Medical Association May Cohen Award for Women Mentors and the 2020 American Society of Nephrology Distinguished Mentor Award, Dr. Ahmed is strong proponent of the importance of mentorship and fostering excellence in the next generation of researchers.



Maureen MacDonald, PhD

Professor and Dean in the Faculty of Science at McMaster University.


  • Mind the Gap: Hormonal Contraceptives and Brain Health
  • diet
  • hormonal contraceptives
  • hormones
  • stroke

First Nations land acknowledegement

We acknowledge that the UBC Point Grey campus is situated on the traditional, ancestral and unceded territory of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam) people.

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