Health and Fitness

Varying Reductions In Breast Cancer Suggest Hormone Therapy To Blame

The recent decline in invasive breast cancer in the US was significantly less pronounced in the poor and those who live in rural areas. Researchers writing in the open access journal BMC Medicine suggest this may be due to varying reductions in the numbers of women taking hormone therapy (HT). Christina Clarke, Ph.D., led a team of researchers from the Northern California Cancer Center who studied breast cancer incidence data from the largest cancer database available in the US for the years 1997-2004, comparing poor areas against rich and urban areas against rural. She said, "Between 2001 and 2004, incidence rates of invasive breast cancer declined more than 8% in the United States. "One possible explanation for this is widespread discontinuation of and/or failure to initiate HT. Because this cessation of HT use was more pronounced in rich/urban areas, we wanted to see if there was a corresponding difference in breast cancer incidence between these areas and poor/rural parts of the country".

What Is Osteoporosis? What Causes Osteoporosis?

The bones of people with osteoporosis become thin and weak. The word "osteo" comes from the Greek osteon meaning "bone", while "porosis" comes from the Greek poros meaning "hole, passage". According to Medilexicon's medical dictionary, osteoporosis is a "reduction in the quantity of bone or atrophy of skeletal tissue; an age-related disorder characterized by decreased bone mass and loss of normal skeletal microarchitecture, leading to increased susceptibility to fractures." About 3 million people have osteoporosis in the UK, causing approximately 230, 000 fractures each year, according to the National Health Service (NHS). Osteoporosis is a public health threat for an estimated 44 million people in the USA, 55% of people aged 50 or over, says the National Osteoporosis Foundation (NOF). The NOF says that 10 million people currently have osteoporosis, while 34 million are thought to have low bone mass; which places them at significantly increased risk for the condition. News on Bones and Orthopedics For the latest news and research on Bones and Orthopedics, and to sign up to newsletters or news alerts, please visit our Bones and Orthopedics News Section.

Potential Mislead And Uselessness In Monitoring Bone Density In Older Women

A study published on bmj.com reports that monitoring bone mineral density in postmenopausal women taking osteoporosis drugs, such as bisphosphonates, is pointless and could be misleading. A major public health problem, osteoporosis particularly affects older women. Bone density drops after menopause because estrogen levels decline. Low bone mineral density importantly increases risk factor for fractures. Several guidelines advise that is necessary to monitor bone mineral density in postmenopausal women. However, it is expensive and many experts argue that those screenings fail to show how patients are responding to treatment. Researchers from Australia and the USA evaluated the need for monitoring by studying the effects of the drug alendronate which is a widely used bisphosphonate. They looked at the variations between individuals. They evaluated the data from the Fracture Intervention Trial (FIT), a large randomized trial that compared the effects of alendronate with placebo. The trial included over 6, 000 postmenopausal women with low bone mineral density.

What Is Menopause? What Are The Symptoms Of Menopause?

The menopause marks the time in a woman's life when her menstruation stops and she is no longer fertile (able to become pregnant). In the UK the average age for the menopause is 52 (National Health Service), while in the USA it is 51 (National Institute of Aging). About one fifth of women in India experience menopause before the age of 41, a study found. The menopause is a normal part of like - it is a milestone, just like puberty - it is not a disease or a condition. Even though it is the time of the woman's last period symptoms may begin many years earlier. Some women may experience symptoms for months or years afterwards. According to Medilexicon's medical dictionary, the menopause is the "Permanent cessation of the menses due to ovarian failure; termination of the menstrual life." (menses = shedding of blood during a woman's menstrual period). The peri-menopause is the 3 to 5 year period before the menopause when a woman's estrogen levels begin to drop. Let's recap the meaning of these two words: Menopause - when periods (menstruation) stop forever.

Aclasta R zoledronic Acid 5mg Approved In EU To Treat Steroid Induced Osteoporosis In Men And Post-menopausal Women

Aclasta® (zoledronic acid 5 mg)[1] has been approved in the European Union to treat men and post-menopausal women with osteoporosis caused by the long-term use of glucocorticoids, commonly known as steroids.1 The new indication for the treatment of glucocorticoid-induced osteoporosis (GIO) is important because glucocorticoids (often referred to as corticosteroids or steroids) are widely used to treat inflammatory conditions such as asthma, rheumatoid arthritis and inflammatory bowel disease. Patients receiving long-term steroid therapy are at increased risk of fracture, as their use is associated with side effects such as bone loss and consequently osteoporosis.3 "Oral bisphosphonates have been used for many years for the treatment of glucocorticoid-induced osteoporosis, but they are associated with poor compliance as patients frequently fail to take them as prescribed, " said Professor David M. Reid, Head of the Division of Applied Medicine at the University of Aberdeen, UK.

More Women Seek Nonprescription Remedies For Menopause Symptoms

Over-the-counter remedies for menopause symptoms are growing in popularity among some women who fear potential risks from prescription hormone replacement therapy, the New York Times reports. According to the Times, the market for alternative therapies -- such as natural supplements and topical creams -- jumped in 2002 after initial results from the Women's Health Initiative suggested that HRT could increase risk for heart disease, cancer, stroke and blood clots. Gynecologists estimate that about one-third of menopausal women are treated with conventional prescription hormones, and about one-third are treated with bio-identical hormones -- plant-derived synthetic hormones that mimic the molecular structure of human hormones. The remaining one-third either do not seek therapy for symptoms, are not bothered by symptoms or use over-the-counter therapies. There are more than 500 over-the-counter products available that claim to alleviate menopause symptoms, the Times reports. The treatments include such products as teas, low-dose progesterone creams, black cohosh capsules and phytoestrogens derived from soy and red clover, according to the Times.

For Older Women With Diabetes, Two Dietary Oils, Two Sets Of Benefits

A study comparing how two common dietary oil supplements affect body composition suggests that both oils, by themselves, can lower body fat in obese postmenopausal women with Type 2 diabetes. The two oils compared were safflower oil, a common cooking oil, and conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), a compound naturally found in some meat and dairy products that has been associated with weight loss in previous studies. Both are composed primarily of polyunsaturated fatty acids, which are considered "good fats" that, when consumed in proper quantities, are associated with a variety of health benefits. Martha Belury In the study, 16 weeks of supplementation with safflower oil reduced fat in the trunk area, lowered blood sugar and increased muscle tissue in the women participants. Conjugated linoleic acid supplementation for the same length of time, on the other hand, reduced total body fat and lowered the women's body mass index (BMI), a common health measure of weight relative to height.

Link Between Migraines And Reduced Breast Cancer Risk Confirmed

US researchers have recently confirmed the findings of an earlier smaller study they published last year that suggested women with a history of migraine are likely to have a lower risk of developing breast cancer. They estimated that among both premenopausal and postmenopausal women with a clinical diagnosis of migraines, the risk of getting breast cancer was 26 per cent lower compared to women without a history of migraines. The new research was led by Dr Christopher I. Li, a breast-cancer epidemiologist and associate member of the Public Health Sciences Division of the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, Washington. As first author, Li and colleagues from other research centers in the US, have published the work as a paper in the July issue of Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention, a journal of the American Association for Cancer Research. The authors noted that both migraine and breast cancer are diseases that involve hormones, and therefore it is not unreasonable to hypothesize that the two could be linked.

Breast Cancer Risk In Postmenopausal Women Exposed To Hormone Replacement Therapy, Could Be Reduced By Asian Spice

Previous studies have found that postmenopausal women who have taken a combined estrogen and progestin hormone replacement therapy have increased their risk of developing progestin-accelerated breast tumors. Now, University of Missouri researchers have found that curcumin, a popular Indian spice derived from the turmeric root, could reduce the cancer risk for women after exposure to hormone replacement therapy. "Approximately 6 million women in the United States use hormone replacement therapy to treat the symptoms of menopause, " said Salman Hyder, the Zalk Endowed Professorship in Tumor Angiogenesis and professor of biomedical sciences in the College of Veterinary Medicine and the Dalton Cardiovascular Research Center. "This exposure to progestin will predispose a large number of post-menopausal women to future development of breast cancer. The results of our study show that women could potentially take curcumin to protect themselves from developing progestin-accelerated tumors.

Modifiable Risk Factors For Heart Disease Identified By New Research

Special issue focuses on cardiovascular disease prevention and outcomes Emerging research on cardiovascular risk factors and treatment effects are helping clinicians gain a better understanding of which patients are most likely to benefit from close monitoring, lifestyle changes and/or additional therapeutic interventions. New findings published in the December 15/22, 2009, Prevention and Outcomes Focus Issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology aim to disentangle the influence of menopause versus chronological aging in upping women's post-menopausal risk for heart disease, evaluate the role of smoking status, physical activity and diet-induced weight loss in certain patient populations, and more fully describe the effects of intensive lipid-lowering therapy on subsequent cardiovascular events. Highlights from select studies published in the current issue of JACC find: Menopause Linked to Harmful Changes in Blood Cholesterol, But Not Other Cardiovascular Risk Factors Whether the jump in heart disease risk among post-menopausal women is a function of aging or a consequence of the menopausal transition and the associated loss of endogenous estrogen, or both, has been hotly debated.

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