The ZRT Laboratory Blog

The ZRT Blog is an extensive resource for patients and health care providers searching for health and hormone testing information. Here, you can read about ZRT’s cutting edge research, advances in testing, wellness advice, and health industry highlights.



Dr. Kate Placzek

Kate Placzek, PhD, is a Senior Research Scientist at ZRT Laboratory.
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Recent Posts

A Dynamic Duo: When to Test Neurotransmitters with Sex Hormones

Posted by Dr. Kate Placzek on Thursday, 06 April

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The nervous system and its communication with peripheral organs is under the continuous dynamic influence of hormones, neuroactive steroids, and neurotransmitters. This is why the underlying pathology of mood disorders can often be varied and complex.

The hormonal piece is critical to our understanding of the imbalances when it comes to the complete neurotransmitter assessment. Hormones regulate key processes pertaining to neurotransmitter biosynthesis, signaling, and degradation. It is important to recognize that disturbances in the relationships between hormones and neurotransmitters can shape normal physiology toward a maladaptive state leading to suboptimal psychological wellbeing.

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Addressing Low Libido in Peri-Menopausal Patients

Posted by Dr. Kate Placzek on Friday, 24 February

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Providers routinely call ZRT for support in addressing low libido for their patients during the menopausal transition. Busy lifestyles, everyday stress, not enough or poor quality sleep and many other factors can all contribute to putting sex at the bottom of the to-do list, well after laundry, scrubbing the floor, and taking the dog to the vet.

Low libido is a multidimensional issue that can have a little bit of everything infused into its mosaic. It's not uncommon that the symptom of low libido is accompanied by fatigue, sleep disturbances, mood swings, and perhaps even mild depression. Helping patients with waning libido is attainable, and one just needs to know where to look. There are a number of factors that appear to be intimately linked to libido that can be divided into three broad categories – endocrine, lifestyle, and physical.

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The Distinction Between DHEA and DHEA-S and Why Both Are Important For a Healthy Brain

Posted by Dr. Kate Placzek on Wednesday, 08 February

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Everything we do, feel, think – it all starts with the brain. A balanced, healthy brain helps lay the essential foundation for optimal wellbeing. A small but significant aspect of brain health is regulated by a specific class of steroid molecules called neurosteroids. 

That the brain is a steroidogenic organ is widely accepted, and neurosteroids are woven into its very fabric. In fact, the term “neurosteroid” refers to cholesterol-derived steroid compounds that play critical roles in the nervous system - its development, maintenance and survival. “Neurosteroids: of the nervous system, by the nervous system, for the nervous system” as Baulieu said a decade and a half following the remarkable discovery of the very first neurosteroid - DHEA-S [1] [2]

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Goodbye 2016! Comfort Foods for Your New Year’s Celebration

Posted by Dr. Kate Placzek on Friday, 30 December

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When you think of comfort foods, what comes to mind? 

For me, it’s all about the firsts of the season. Sitting on the floor by the fireplace with its warmth permeating the room, it’s that first sip of eggnog – yes, the real stuff made from scratch. It’s the time when my house fills with the sweetness of a baking apple pie for the first time in many months. It’s also about the unending damp drizzle of Pacific Northwest winters and the haven of dry comfort on the inside enveloping my family and friends with a sense of belonging, connection and gratitude.

The Clinical Consultants group at ZRT hopes you enjoy these comfort food recipes and wishes you a Happy New Year!

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