Westridge School’s Manon I. ’26 Makes Second Consecutive Win at Los Angeles County Science Fair

Kudos to Upper School student Manon I. ’26, who won two awards in the 2023 Los Angeles County Science and Engineering Fair for her project, “Effect of Paeonia Lactiflora Pall (White Peony) Roots on Alleviation in Primary Dysmenorrhea.” She was awarded first place in the animal physiology category, senior division, and the U.S. Airforce Science Award. (This is the second consecutive year Manon has won at the fair!)

The ninth grader is passionate about women’s health, which she says is not studied enough. About half of all women across the globe are diagnosed with primary dysmenorrhea (menstrual pain and cramping), according to Yale Medicine. Manon wanted to find a safer alternative to NSAIDs such as ibruprofen as the medication can have side effects such as stomach ulcers or heartburn. She was inspired to test the effect of white peony on menstrual pain, given its studied effect in those who have rheumatoid arthritis (this form of arthritis and primary dysmenorrhea have inflammation in common).

Hypothesis & Testing: Manon wanted to see if the effects of the white peony roots alleviate menstrual pain/cramping. To do so, she got 100 subjects from local schools to participate in the experiment. She gave 50 a white peony tea and 50 a placebo tea (without the white peony) in a double-blind, randomized trial. This type of experimental study ensures neither the researcher nor subjects know what they are getting to help eliminate bias. Subjects were asked to take their tea on the second and third day of their menstrual period and fill out a form rating their pain on a scale of one to 10.

Results: Using the results of the form, Manon found that the white peony tea decreased pain by more than 40% (in comparison, the placebo yielded about an 8% decrease). She also found that the results were statistically significant, meaning that if the test is run multiple times, it will yield similar results. In the future, she hopes to expand the study and see how the root can help women in day-to-day life.

“I hope to encourage more Westridge students to attend the LA County Science and Engineering Fair and also participate in my Westridge Science Fair Club Activities too!” said Manon (who is co-head of the Westridge Science and Engineering Club). In the meantime, she’s preparing to compete in the California Science & Engineering Fair in April.

Westridge School, 324 Madeline Drive, Pasadena, (626) 799-1053 ext. 200 or visit www.westridge.org.






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