FINDINGS: UCLA researchers and colleagues analyzed data for 2, 213 women between the ages of 42 and 52 who participated in the bone sub-study of the Study of Women's Health Across the Nation to determine whether women with vasomotor symptoms (VMS) - which include hot flashes and night sweats - had lower bone mineral density. The researchers found that postmenopausal women with VMS had lower lumbar and total hip bone mineral density than those without VMS. Premenopausal women and early perimenopausal women who had VMS were found to have lower femoral neck bone mineral density than those without VMS. AUTHORS: UCLA study co-authors Dr. Carolyn J. Crandall, associate clinical professor of general internal medicine and health services research; Gail A. Greendale, professor of medicine in geriatrics; and Yan Zheng, of the division of general internal medicine and health services research. JOURNAL: The research appeared in the March/April 2009 issue of the journal Menopause. FUNDING: The National Institute on Aging, the U.
The Washington Post in its Health Section on Tuesday focused on women's health, including articles on hormone replacement therapy and mammography. Headlines appear below. ~ " Hormone Research Continues " ( Washington Post, 5/12). ~ " Mammogram Rates Seem To Be Slipping " (Lunzer Kritz, Washington Post, 5/12). ~ " Weighing the Options: Once Again, Scientists are Sharply Divided Over Hormone Therapy for Menopausal Women " (Slomski, Washington Post, 5/12). Reprinted with kind permission from http://www.nationalpartnership.org. You can view the entire Daily Women's Health Policy Report, search the archives, or sign up for email delivery here. The Daily Women's Health Policy Report is a free service of the National Partnership for Women & Families, published by The Advisory Board Company. © 2009 The Advisory Board Company. All rights reserved.
Oprah Winfrey "has scored good ratings with her health episodes" of her television show, but "in doing so, she seems to have thrown therapeutic caution to the wind, " such as on her shows featuring actress Suzanne Somers' opinions on bioidentical hormone replacement therapy, Salon contributor and physician Rahul Parikh writes in an opinion piece. Somers, while advocating for the use of bioidentical HRT as a safe alternative to traditional HRT for postmenopausal women, said she used "mega-doses of bioidenticals continuously and aggressively, " according to Parikh. Parikh writes that Somers, on television and in her 2007 book, "argues that these hormones are more natural, more effective and safer than what doctors prescribe." According to Parikh, "In reality, ... В there are no good medical studies to back up those claims." Parikh says that although "what Somers was advocating was radically different from standards of medical care, " Winfrey "was not concerned" and even said that Somers "'might be a pioneer, '" Parikh continues.
Newly identified gene variants associated with the age at which females experience their first menstrual period and the onset of menopause may help shed light on the prevention of breast and endometrial cancer, osteoporosis, and cardiovascular disease. In a new study, researchers from Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH), Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH), National Cancer Institute (NCI), and the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT report that they have identified 10 genetic variants in two chromosomal regions associated with age at menarche (the first menstrual period), and 13 genetic variants in four chromosomal regions associated with age at natural menopause. The paper, "Genome-wide association studies identify loci associated with age at menarche and at natural menopause, " was published online in Nature Genetics on May 17, 2009 ( http://www.nature.com/ng/journal/vaop/ncurrent/index.html ). Menarche and natural menopause are two important physiological events in a woman's life.
The majority of post-menopausal women are uncomfortable talking about vaginal dryness and pain and are reluctant to seek medical help, according to results from a new international survey presented today at the European Congress on Menopause in London. Results from the survey show that over a third (39 percent) of post-menopausal women experience these symptoms of vaginal atrophy and 40 percent of women who have recently experienced vaginal dryness and pain said it interferes with their sex life, yet seven out of ten would not discuss the problem with their physician (only 30 percent of women would consider talking to a gynaecologist, and only 29 percent would consider talking to a GP). This reluctance to discuss the problem means a quarter would wait for over a year before finally contacting their physician. Additionally, more than a third of those surveyed did not know there are local treatments available. "The results of this survey really highlight my experiences of treating menopausal women and in my practice in Italy it is even worse.
The risk of developing breast cancer due to taking hormone replacement therapy appears to be the same for women with a family history of the disease and without a family history, a University of Rochester Medical Center study concluded. The study, published online this week in the journal Epidemiology, adds to the evolving picture of what factors, either alone or in combination, boost breast cancer risk among postmenopausal women. It also refutes the notion, held by many in the medical community, that a familial predisposition to breast cancer enhances the carcinogenic effects of estrogen. "Although we know that family history is a risk factor, we don't know yet what it is about family history that conveys the risk, " said Robert E. Gramling, M.D., D.Sc., assistant professor of Family Medicine and of Community and Preventive Medicine at URMC. "Some have proposed that it might be an increased sensitivity to estrogen, but our data did not support that notion. In fact, this study suggests the causal pathway based on family history is probably not estrogen sensitivity.
The largest study of its kind to date shows that women may not be able to learn as well shortly before menopause compared to other stages in life. The research is published in the May 26, 2009, print issue of Neurology® , the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology. For a four-year period, researchers studied 2, 362 women, who were between the ages of 42 and 52 had at least one menstrual period in the three months before the study started. The women were given three tests: verbal memory, working memory and a test that measured the speed at which they processed information. Scientists tested the women throughout four stages of the menopause transition: premenopausal (no change in menstrual periods), early perimenopausal (menstrual irregularity but no "gaps" of 3 months), late perimenopausal (having no period for three to 11 months) and postmenopausal (no period for 12 months). The study found that processing speed improved with repeated testing during premenopause, early perimenopause and postmenopause, but that scores during late perimenopause did not show the same degree of improvement.
Identification Of Genetic Variants Affecting Age At Menopause Could Help Improve Fertility Treatment
For the first time, scientists have been able to identify genetic factors that influence the age at which natural menopause occurs in women. Ms Lisette Stolk, a researcher from Erasmus MC, Rotterdam, The Netherlands, told the annual conference of the European Society of Human Genetics that a greater understanding of the factors influencing age at menopause might eventually help to improve the clinical treatment of infertile women. Ms Stolk and her team performed a Genome-Wide Association Study (GWAS) in 10, 339 menopausal women. The data analysed were taken from 9 different studies undertaken in The Netherlands (the Rotterdam Study 1 and 2), the UK (the TwinsUK study), USA (the Framingham study, the Cardiovascular Health Study, the ARIC study, the HAPI Heart Study), Iceland (AGES-Reykjavik) and Italy (the InCHIANTI study). The scientists found 20 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in four different places on chromosomes 19 and 20. SNPs are common genetic variants that influence how humans look, behave, develop disease or react to pathogens.
Some women take a short break from using postmenopausal hormone therapy before getting their breasts screened for cancer with mammography. They hope to lower their risk of being called back afterward for unnecessary extra breast imaging. But taking a short break from hormones doesn't actually work for this purpose, according to the first large-scale randomized controlled trial to address the question. The READ (Radiological Evaluation and Breast Density) trial of more than 1, 700 Group Health women is in the June 2, 2009 Annals of Internal Medicine. "Postmenopausal hormones make breasts denser - like young women's breasts - and make mammograms harder to 'read, '" explained Diana S.M. Buist, PhD, MPH, an associate investigator at Group Health Center for Health Studies in Seattle. This raises the chance of having a "false-positive." That means women are called back ("recalled") for more testing, only to learn they have no breast cancer after all. "False-positives account for a quarter of the overall costs of mammography in the United States, " Buist said.
Older women who take hormone therapy to relieve menopausal symptoms may get the added benefit of reduced body fat if they are physically active, according to a new study. The results were presented at The Endocrine Society's 91st Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C. The study provides new information on the health benefits of any type of physical activity, not just exercise, said the presenting author Poli Mara Spritzer, MD, PhD, a professor at the Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul in Porto Alegre, Brazil, and chief of the Gynecological Endocrinology Unit at the university's Hospital de Clinicas de Porto Alegre. After menopause, a woman's percentage of body fat tends to increase and redistribute to the abdomen, Spritzer said. Excess belly fat is a risk factor for diabetes and heart disease. Postmenopausal women who exercise have a lower percentage of body fat than sedentary women, past research shows. However, Spritzer said less is known about the influence on body fat composition of physical activity in women receiving hormone replacement therapy, or HRT.